Climbing Mont Blanc: An introduction
Mont Blanc also called as The White Mountain because of its never ending snowfield surroundings, and ice berg. This huge dome shape mountain is encloses on all side by freezing glaciers, great alpine faces, deep blue lakes that encircles the area and a breathtaking view of an alpine landscape. Climbing Mont Blanc for sure will give you a hard work but given that there is a great scenery waiting for you at the top we know that this alp in worth climbing for.
The Highest Peak of Western Europe
Mont Blanc is a gigantic 4,808 meter (15,774 ft) high mountain located in the border of France and Italy in the Alps. Europe’s highest mountain is located in Caucasus, it is called the Mount Elbrus with the height of 5642 meters (18,510 ft).
Quick Fact: “The exact elevation of Mont Blanc changes every year. It depends on the amount of snowfall in the top of the mountain.There are actually two summits, about 100 feet apart.”
Must have skills:
Of course you can not just hike there without having the proper skills needed to do alpine climbing. These are the things that you need to know:
- Crampon skills- One of the most essential skill in doing ice climbing. You should know how to use crampon shoe. Just remember that when using it always bend your knees, and put a shoulder width between your feet. Always have confident in your feet, it can make you feel safer and make the spikes attach and detach the ice better.
- Should know how to use an ice ax- This one is very crucial. Ax can save you in many instances while climbing a mountain. It helps you descend if you are in steep position and this is also a safety and a walking tool. You can also use this as a break when you suddenly loss our balance. There are many uses but remember that always have confidence in using this and the crampon. These two are tandem. Once you know how to use them efficiently you can easily climb up and down in an ice mountain.
- Knowledge in doing alpine climbing- I ask you a question. How can you climb without “knowledge”? Okay, lets say you hike without proper knowledge in climbing Mont Blanc then you reach the top. Congrats to you then. But, when you climb, before you reach the top what is the chance of you dying in the middle of the journey? 80%? 90%? What I am trying to say is that you might be able to pull it but this can be very dangerous for you to do hiking without the proper “knowledge”. You can gain knowledge if you attend a seminar about ice climbing or if you know a friend who do this kind of stuff you can ask him for a help.
Dangers You May Encounter in Climbing Mont Blanc
We list the dangers you might face during your journey in climbing Mont Blanc. We also give tips to avoid this.
Risky Routes– There are two routes if you climb Mont Blanc. First is the “El Groute” or the normal route and second is the “Trois Monts”. Any of these routes are dangerous. If you go to the “El Groute” you will end up reaching the “Grand Couloir” which is known for falling rocks.
Tips to pass “Grand Coloir” of “El Groute”
-Move quickly, check if there are rock that will fall, then move quickly again.
-There are ropes and wire that can help you to pass this path. But I believe it would be better to just dash across because this ropes are just slowing you down making you vulnerable to falling rocks.
-If you think you are near to the grouter hut do not slow down. You just have to keep moving. Always remember that the key here is to be quick.
Tips to pass “Trois Monts”
-This route is pretty short compare to “Grand couloir” but this is more dangerous because on the way you need to pass the serac falls. In this fatal accidents like avalanche can occur. We do not advise taking this route but if you want to finish the climb faster then go for it.
– Before going to this route always check news if there are incoming avalanche to the area.
-Be aware of the surroundings. Once you are there be sensitive on simple noises this might be the roar of an incoming avalanche.
Avalanches– These happens because of the icy weather of the place. You can avoid it if you climb during summer season.
Extreme cold temperature– The temperature when you are in the bottom of the mountain is about 14 degree Celsius. Every hikers need to be careful because as you go up you might experience colder temperature of up top -15 degree Celcius. At this point you may experience hypothermia . To counter that always wear couple of clothes to protect yourself from clothes. Also buy items that can protect specially your toe, face, and fingers. This are the part of your body that is prone to frost bites. Always wear a warm jacket, heavy duty gloves, and a good shell jacket.
- Backpack- this is where you put all your items make the weight is not over 5 kg.
- Ice ax and crampons- This two gear is a must have. never forget to bring it.
- helmet- others don’t prefer it but we highly recommend using this. Remember the Gouter route? where the rocks fall. Helmet can save you!
- rope- 30 meters rope is enough for you to climb in some rock formation
- first aid kit- in case of emergency, it is better you have this.
- map and compass- basic tool you need in climbing places you do not know yet.
- food- As you go high your appetite increases you need food to give you energy.
- water- that place might be cold but ascending a mountain dehydrates your body.
Now, we are done discussing the things you need to know about the white mountain. Are you ready now climbing Mont Blanc? Overall, we can say that you need motivation, a very high dosage of motivation, sheer will and a lots of training before climbing this mountain. Climbing skills are very relevant because it makes you more comfortable ascending to the peak. If you still have doubt of yourself and you think you can not do it then go and take a guide. There are lot of tours package that helps you climb Mont Blanc but, of course it comes with a price. You need to pay some bucks but we are pretty sure it is going to be worth it.
Lastly, don’t be scared of the dangers. Remember just like that mountain. You can overcome all those challenges and still look beautiful. Good luck and have fun!