Our 2018 Mont Blanc team recently returned from the French Alps after having a great time climbing Western Europe’s highest peak! Our climbers met in the historic mountain village of Chamonix, France, and from there ventured into the high country, spending two nights at the Albert Premier hut to acclimatize and train in mountaineering technique. We climbed the Tête Blanche, a glaciated peak with an exposed rock scramble at the summit. After 3 days up high in the alpine zone, we descended back to Chamonix. Everyone enjoyed a restful evening and great dinner in town.
The following morning we had a leisurely start and then took the famous Aiguille du Midi tram up to the top station, and enjoyed a traditional French lunch overlooking the Alps. Donning our technical climbing gear, we roped up for the descent out of the ‘ice tunnel’ from the station. Slowly we climbed down the very exposed snow arête. The slopes drop away on either side, down to the glacier below. From here we traversed the glacier to the Cosmiques refuge, a climbers hut perched on the edge the cliff overlooking Mont Blanc, and the Chamonix valley far below. After we discussed our plan for the summit attempt and enjoyed a nice dinner, we hit the sack in preparation for an early alpine start!
We awoke just after midnight, had a quick breakfast in the hut then turned on our headlamps and went outside to put on our crampons & rope up. We began the climb climbing the first of the 3 peaks in the ‘tois mont’ or ‘triple summit’ route, Mont Blanc du Tacul. After switchbacking up the glaciated terrain we encountered a large crevasse with a ladder in place to cross. After this section we soon passed by Mont Blanc du Tacul and ventured towards Mont Maudit, a more challenging and higher consequence part of the climb. Climbing up Mont Maudit involved crossing some crevasses on narrow snow bridges and also using our crampons on hard ice as we ascended over the peak on onward towards the final summit, Mont Blanc.
We climbed the final snow slopes to the top of Western Europe’s highest peak and reached the summit at 9 AM! The views were phenomenal and we snapped many summit photos while savoring our success. We then began the descent back down from Mont Blanc, over Mont Maudit, and Mont Blanc du Tacul back to the Cosmiques refuge for dinner. As we sipped celebratory beverages after dinner we recounted our climb of Mont Blanc and our good fortune in climbing other summits and having great weather throughout. Thanks to all of our climbers for participating in a fantastic week in the French Alps, and especially to guides Victor Saunders and Kris Erickson who helped make this a great program.