France,  Mission 4000,  We12climb

Mission 4.000: summiting Mont Blanc

The first blog in the Mission 4.000 series is about my first ever climb  above the altitude of 4.000 meter above sea level, the climb of the mighty Mont Blanc. It was my introduction to climbing in ice and snow, at the time I was only climbing a little bit at the local indoor climbing gym and walls in Germany and Belgium. 

As many of you know the Mont Blanc is the highest mountain of Western Europe with an altitude of 4.810 meters.  It’s the highest peak of a massive granite mountain range on the border of France, Italy and Switzerland.  This area is very popular for climbers because those kind of granite nature walls can’t be found anywhere else in Europe.

Summit Mont Blanc
Summit Mont Blanc

In 2006 I got the opportunity to climb Mont Blanc on an expedition with co-workers. During this expedition, we traveled to Chamonix in France, from where you can make beautiful mountain trips to the high peaks around the area. In the summertime the place can be really crowed with both tourists and climbers.

During this trip we had ofcourse mountain guides to help us reach the summit of Mont Blanc.  We took the ‘easy’ way up, also known as the Goûter route. This path leads through the Goûter Corridor which can be very dangerous, especially later during the day because of rockfall. The night before our ascent we slept at the Tête Rousse hut, which we left in the middle of the night to climb the mountain.  The altitude of the hut is at 3.167 meters and as we planned on getting up at 01.30 am, we went to bed straight after dinner. There is also the possibility to stay overnight in the Refuge du Goûter at 3835m. This hut is more crowded than the Tête Rousse hut and because of the high altitude it’s more difficult to reach, which means less time to sleep before the summit climb.


Mont Blanc morning view
Mont Blanc morning view


Mont Blanc climb early morning
Mont Blanc climb early morning


The hard climb to the top took us six and half hours from the hut . The last hundred meters below the summit were physically demanding because you could feel the amount of oxygen decline in your lungs while taking it step by step to go forward. After reaching the summit we got the company flag out and enjoyed the view. All around us where mountain peaks, I really felt like I was on top of the world. After an early phone call home (at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning) to let Anto know I reached the top, it was time get down again. The way down was not as hard as expected, I got an adrenaline rush from reaching the summit which gave extra energy.

The climb was a unique adventure what made me realize how much I just love the mountains. It awakened my passion for climbing and reaching more summits in the future.

Although you don’t need techinical climbing experience to summit Mont Blanc, you need to be in perfect shape and need to be courageous. If you have mountaineering skills and experience it’s not necessary to use a guide, however we do recommend it.

Summit selfie
view over the alps

Want to read more about the mountains?
– Hiking and biking around Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado
– A hiking trail tale: Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia
– The Inca Trail, can you do it? About hiking up to 4.200 meters… 

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  • Tikva

    Wow wat gaaf!, staat nog steeds op mijn wensenlijstje.
    Hebben jullie nog plannen voor andere bergen? Kilimanjaro kan ik aanraden.

    • anto

      Jaaa Kilimanjaro! Lijkt me echt super, heb jij die gedaan? Martijn vertrekt na onze roadtrip nog een weekje naar het Monte Rosa gebied in Zwitserland waar hij zeker weer wat toppen gaat beklimmen. Echt bekende toppen voor nu niet, hopelijk ooit de Everest haha. Nee geintje, Everest Base Camp lijkt me ook een mooie doelstelling…

      • Tikva

        Ja voor onze huwelijksreis hebben we de Kilimanjaro beklommen.
        Zie voor reisverslag, we vonden het geweldig maar raden het niet aan:

        Nu wil Marcel heel graag de Aconcagua (dat mogen dochter en ik thuis blijven). Zelf zou ik eerder voor die berg bij La Paz kiezen. Nog steeds spijt dat ik die in 2004 niet heb beklommen. De makkelijkste 6000-er.

  • Ester

    Indrukwekkend! Ik verbaas me er altijd weer over wat voor moois de wereld te bieden heeft. Mijn vriend is vorige zomer rond de Mont Blanc gerend, trail running door Frankrijk, Zwitserland en Italië. Ik ben in de tussentijd gaan rondwandelen vanaf ons hostel in Chamonix. Fijne sportieve sfeer in dit bergdorpje.

  • Meg @ Mapping Megan

    Wow – a huge congrats for the climb! I would love to conquer Mt Blanc! Though I’m not exactly in perfect physical condition at the moment lol so i might have to spend some time training first! Great photos – very inspiring!

  • Dave Cole

    Those sunrise colors are very powerful. I can only imagine the feeling of climbing this high with the rewarding hues in the background. It’s funny how you remember certain moments awakening a passion. I recall my first couple of days in Spain at 15 (one cafe in particular), which bookmarked the country for many future returns.

  • Ashley @ A Southern Gypsy

    Wow, very impressive and congrats to you! I’d love to do something like this one day but must rehab my knee more (tore my ACL last year). The sunrise is absolutely gorgeous and I can only imagine how that was in person.

  • Jenna

    What an exciting adventure! Congrats on making it to the top! We always love hiking but have never done anything this intense. We would need to be in better shape, but it would be fun to try sometime–your photos are beautiful!

  • Beth

    Impressive! I think it’s a feat summiting any mountain, but doing so in such snowy conditions seems like it would be even more satisfying.

  • Chris Boothman

    If you are going to take on a challenge, why not take on one of the toughest of them all with the mighty Mont Blanc! I know it is really inspiring to be able to complete such a challenge and I am sure you are looking forward to taking on many more obstacles and summits in the future. The snowy conditions of course just makes the challenge even more difficult yet rewarding after you have completed it!

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