Intro(Continued from Trip Report: Aiguille du Tour & Aiguilles Dorées – Warming Up for Mont Blanc)
After one year of dreams, plans, efforts, a lot of preparation and even some hesitations “show-time” has arrived for the “Blanco” brothers. The moment Gabi and I have long waited with so much enthusiasm is here. Our “rendez-vouz” to climb this mythical mountain has come.
Due to the hot weather, seracs are trembling in the route of the three 4000s (Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc) so it is really dangerous. We need to adjust our plans, so we decide to go through the more typical route of Dôme du Goûter (Bosses Ridge) . There’s only one problem, no room available in the Goûter Hut so we will need to climb from Tête Rousse (se we need to sum 2hs to climb and another 2hs to descend). Apart from this, weather forecast is positive for Saturday the 8th of July.
Day 6 – Approach – Tête Rousse - July 7, 2006We took the cable car of Bellevue in the town of Les Houches (10Km from Chamonix) and then the tramway to “Nid de Aigle” (2386m) where we hiked in the fog to Tête Rousse Hut (3167m). From the hut we took some beautiful pictures of the sunset and Bionnassay Glacier. Then we passed the shortest night of our lives.
Train of Nid de Aigle (2386m)
Bionnassay Glacier sunset – from Tête Rousse Hut
Day 7 – The longest day & the happiest day - July 8, 200601h30am - Tête Rousse Hut (3167m)
03h30am - Aiguille du Goûter Hut (3817m)
08h30am - Mont Blanc Summit (4808m)
11h30am - Aiguille du Goûter Hut
13h30am - Tête Rousse Hut
16h00pm - Nid d’Aigle (2386m)
17h30pm - Chamonix
It’s 12h45 am in the morning, frontals begin to switch on and alarms begin to switch off. In a couple of minutes everybody is on their feet, preparing for the great adventure. My brother looks excellent; he plays with Luis another Spanish colleague, both try to hold their nerves. Unfortunately in my case, my stomach is giving me some trouble.
Sleepy, we face and negotiate the quite demanding 650m of rock climbing up to the Goûter Hut where we arrive 2 hours later. We drink a bit of water, fix our crampons and begin to head the broad snow ridge that will take as to the summit of the Dôme du Goûter (4303m). Just 15m later a strong wind begins to blow and we need to put our jackets and gloves.
Mont Blanc – dawn from Dôme du Goûter (4303m)
Then endless slopes come one after the other, like a repetitive dream, a white and windy nightmare, but it is real and beautiful, it’s magic and the sky is clear. We need to do something anyhow not to give up. We apply then the “ticky – tacka” football tactics to the zig-zag, zig-zag, zig-zag… my eyes closing, step after step, the steps of my brother, in front of me, have a kind of hypnotic effect. Then, I hear my angel saying “don’t worry, you just move, climb, climb … “. One step, another step, one slope another slope … I breath deeply and this helps me, deep breaths, aspiration – expiration, aspiration-expiration, it’s cold, I put the gloves on my cheeks. Gabi looks pretty fine, sometimes we need to make the windmill to warm up our fingers. My stomach is under control, the worse is over…
Again the “ticky – tacka” tactics, but we don’t have a ball, there’s only one word … ENDURANCE, and then I remember Shackleton of the Antartic and the modified version of his phrase “With Endurance and Love we Conquer”.
Some technical stops here and there to drink, to eat, to recompose, share a couple of encouraging words. We pass the Col du Goûter (4240m), the Vallot hut and then the ridge that leads to snowy ridge bumps, the Grande Bosse (4513m) and the Petite Bosse(4547m). After that the ridge becomes very narrow and leads past the rock of La Tournette (4677m). A final steep slope brings us to the summit where all our best emotions flourish, explode. We are there, we’ve make it !!! It was one of the happiest days of our lives.
Mont Blanc (4808m)
8h30am - Gabi (right) and I (left) in the Mont Blanc summit & A happy man in the Mont Blanc summit
Some photos, some thoughts to our beloved, a very emotive hug with Gabi, some food and water and we initiate descend.
Return was tough, specially the 2hs dancing on the rocks down from the Goûter Hut to the Tête Rousse Hut. Here we discovered the Aiguille du Gouter and its famous & dramatic Grand Couloir. In the ascend, as it was deep night, we did not realize the difficulty and quite impressive "killing" slope.
Aiguille du Goûter & Grand Couloir from Goûter Hut
Down in Tête Rousse Hut it was proposed the “culo/bottom ski” system down the Bionnassay Glacier and a final “zombie-like” hike to the train of Nid d’Aigle, where we finally arrive exhausted, it’s been 15hs of demanding physical and mental effort.
Down in Les Houches we take some beers and then back in Chamonix a delicious dinner. We prefer rest to further celebration. Gabi and I need to go back to Paris on Sunday morning. During the trip we talk widely about the wonderful experience and our next challenging projects.
AcknowledgementWe do not want to end this trip report without our acknowledgement to our guides Marc and Jean-Philippe for the excellent preparation and support and to our Spanish friends Luis & Fran with whom we enjoyed an intense and unforgettable Alpine week.
LinkMountain Clubs in Spain and Madrid:
Dreampeaks-Mountain Club with Guides