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Freezing on Mont Blanc
Trip Report

Freezing on Mont Blanc

 
Freezing on Mont Blanc

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.83300°N / 6.86500°E

Object Title: Freezing on Mont Blanc

Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 18, 2009

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

 

Page By: rgg

Created/Edited: Oct 19, 2010 / Apr 21, 2013

Object ID: 672312

Hits: 2794 

Page Score: 86.85%  - 23 Votes 

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Cold

I was shivering, it was so cold. I tried to say something, but my words came out faintly and garbled. Right then and there I realized I was suffering from hypothermia. Never felt anything like that before, but I recognized it somehow.

It was no wonder, really. We had started in the darkness at the Cosmiques hut. It was freezing, but as there was virtually no wind, I started with just two layers, because I was counting on staying warm by climbing in a good pace. And for the first few hours, that worked like a charm. We moved along quite nicely. The only hold up was on the steep section just before Mont Maudit.

It was too cold to take off my mittens, so I didn’t eat or drink much on the way up. As we got higher, the wind really picked up and finally, on the slopes of Mont Maudit, the wind and the cold caught up with me.

 
First light on the ascent of Mont Blanc
First light


Fortunately, I wasn’t too far gone to realize it. I stopped. Couldn’t clearly explain the problem, but I managed to get through that I really needed to stop a while. Put on some extra layers, and started drinking and eating some chocolate. After that, I felt better, and gradually I started to feel warm again. The sun coming out didn’t do any harm either, I suppose.

The summit

How far we still had to go, I don’t know, but we started moving again. My legs were weak. I was hoping the chocolate would kick in soon, but I wasn’t feeling it yet. Nevertheless, the summit appeared so close, I was sure we could make it. One step at a time. Much slower than before, we continued. As we got closer to the summit, I started feeling better. Maybe it was just the adrenaline of almost being on top, but the last bit was almost easy.

Going down



 
A steep section on northern slopes of Mont Blanc
Back at the key pitch

After the congratulations, pictures and a well deserved rest, we started our descent, back where we came from. It must still have been freezing, but as we got lower, less wind, somewhat higher temperatures and the strong sun made it feel much warmer. It had turned into a beautiful day.

Seracs

Under a serac on the slopes of Mont Blanc
Walking below seracs

It should not have been much warmer though, because there were some huge seracs hanging over the route. Not a good place to be if things start thawing up.



If you look closely at some of the pictures below, you might be able to spot the trail.

Back at the refuge

 
Refuge des Cosmiques
Refuge des Cosmiques


Finally, we got back at the hut in time for a late lunch.

A day well spent.

Images


Comments


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markhallamFrom my vote...

markhallam

Voted 10/10

..it looks like I read this TR nearly 2 years ago. Well, I just read it again in the light of our experiences last July, coming down this route... slight echoes of Peak Monster running out of gas on summit block of Mont Blanc on that occasion? Maybe something about the grandeur of the place distracts you from your customary diligence on the matter of re-fueling!
Good memories...
Mark
Posted Mar 13, 2014 2:09 am

rggRe: From my vote...

rgg

Hasn't voted

That reminds me ... it's time for lunch now!
Posted Mar 15, 2014 8:35 am

Viewing: 1-2 of 2