Mount Blanc

  • Mt. Blanc
  • 4808 m
  • Primary factor 4695 m
  • Saddle is near lake (Ozero) Kubenskoye in Russia.
  • France (near Italy)
  • Highest in Western Europe
  • Climbed August 19. 1974.


How to get there: A good starting point is the village Chamonix, not too far from Geneva.
Route description: Day 0, we established Base Camp in a park in Chamonix.
Day 1, We started from Les Houches, a bit west of Chamonix. The first leg was a hike on a nice trail up to a place called Bellevue at approximately 1800 meter. Soon therafter one can see Aigue du Gouter, the goal of the first day, as the highest point on the horizon. The next place along the route is called Nid d'Aigle (eagles nest) at 2372 meter. One can take a cable car to this point, however, we climbed the mountain from the valley floor.
Above Nid d'Aigle the view is getting ever more impressive. The trail is good as we climb to the next mountain hut, named Refuge de la Tete Rousse at 3167 meter. The first ice and spectacular scenery around Tete Rousse. Shortly after this hut, one arrives at Le plus dangereux de la route !!, a gully (Le Grand Couloir, 3270m) with constant danger from rock fall. Look left, listen carefully, then cross without unneccesary delay. Refuge de l'Aig du Gouter, 3817 meter is now straight up. This is a crowded, but very good place from which to climb Mt. Blanc, starting out quite early in the morning. One should call the hut and make an advance reservation. The scramble up here is fun with solid rock and good ledges, however some people are scared by the height.
Day 2, We started dead last (the first parties left around 0200) as we had no lights! (in Norway, mountains are climbed in the day, very seldom at night.) An early start is essential since the weather tends to be better in the morning and since one should be off the mountain well ahead of possible (and frequent) lightning in the afternoon. The route is on snow all the way. Rope for normal glacial travel, crampons and ice axe, there is no climbing along the route. The route first climbs Dome du Gouter, 4304m, then there is a small loss of elevation (about 50 meter), before the route climbs to refuge Vallot, 4362m and more steeply along the top of a ridge to Les Bosses, 4547m. The route continues uphill, one may feel the thin air, but the summit is now quite close. The last ridge and the summit is ours, Italy is in the background.
On top of the world, as we descend carefully. The 4052 meter Aigue de Bionessay is in front of us below. Mount Blanc, as seen from the top of Dome du Gouter, refuge Vallot below in the foreground. I look at a more difficult peak, Aigue de Bionessay, 4052 meter. Returning from a perfect day, Chamonix below and Refuge de l'Aig du Gouter straight ahead. We returned all the way to Chamonix the same day. From here one can see most of the route.
Comments: I did this climb with my friends Jostein and Sverre. Despite starting dead last sometime after 0400, we hit the summit at 0730 after a bit more than 3 hours. We overtook almost everybody else on the way up, so the normal time up must be substantially more.
Mt. Blanc is a fantastic mountain in good weather. As the sun rises one has a scenery of exceptional quality, large glacial icefalls and sharp ridges to secondary summits.