18:45 Summit to ourselves Date Climbed: Aug 9, 2000
10 hours after leaving the Chamonix valley, Steve and I stood on the summit alone. We'd paused briefly at the Gouter Hut to eat pasta and rehydrate, then pushed on. We spent about half an hour on the summit, celebrating being the highest people in Western Europe, then as the temperature plummeted, we descended back to the hut in the glow of the setting sun. We crept into the darkened hut quietly after about 2 hours, squeezing ourselves into a couple of vacant spots under tables in the dining room, to avoid disturbing the massed ranks of "sleeping" climbers who would be setting off at 01:00 for the conventional dawn summit push. Awesome day out.
I first climbed Mont Blanc via the Brenva in 1984 and have since traversed it including ascents of Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit as well as the usual Aig. de Gouter and Dome de Gouter crossings. I took my wife up during our Honeymoon in 2002 - and then I solo'd the mountain in 2009. I look forward to attempting a 6th ascent some time in the future - maybe via the Aiguille Grises route from Italy.