Mont Blanc 2013 - pushing limits

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Trip Report
France, Europe
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 2, 2013
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Created On: Jan 9, 2014
Last Edited On: Jan 9, 2014

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A log with GPS and heart rate(HR) monitor logs from summit push
Want comments and feedback from readers, please send a word or two if you have time, thanks :)

My resting heart rate is 44 Maximum heart rate approx. 190
Chamonix altitude: approx. 800 m.
Bellevue station altitude (off the train): 1800 m.
Mont Blanc altitude: approx. 4808 m.

Link to my Suunto Moves Count / Time Log:
Link to GPS / map and HR logs from Gouter to the Mont Blanc summit:

From Chamonix
We are at the bus stop at. 0700.
The bus that was going to go from Chamonix, did not anyway. Lucky to get space on a minimuss and paid 10 euros for it, otherwise we would not have made the train, or had to pay around 100 euros in taxi.

From Le Fayet
At 0800: Taking "tramway to Mont Blanc" Le Fayet, which goes up to Bellevue station(they said the rails was snowed down from there)
Meeting Herbert (Chinese from London) on the train - he's going to the bathroom between stations.

Bellevue - 1800 m
Herbert is wearing training pants made of cotton in the rain. Worried about what he knows about mountain climbing and his planning, equipment and more.
Herbert has no sunglasses - he squints vigorously to prevent snow blindness, and has a cloth over his head
Herbert has no map or compass and going on Mont Blanc, solo.
We are 150 meters from nid Aigle (Eagles nest) then a train is ascending towards us. We hitchhike, but getting a "no-no"-finger signal.

Nid d'aigle - 2272 m
We continue upwards. Getting foggy, rain and snow changing to snow and poor visibility. Herbert slowing down behind us. We call and ask if it's okay with him. Continue upwards. Herbert staying in hut 200 meters below Tete Rousse. We move on upwards.

Tete Rousse - 3200 m.
Meeting english group at Tete Rousse - they want us in the group, having lost two members due to sickness.
They are: Jason, Duncan, Paul, Paul, Charles, James, Matt, (Martin and brother stopped)
Get no sleep at Rousse. Sounds, clammy, sweaty smell, other unknown people right nearby.

From Tete Rousse - 3200 m.
We will start approx. at. 0900 towards Gouter hut.
James is taken by a small snow avalanche in the Grand Colouir - but we got him in the rope. Then he accidentaly stabs his crampons into an impatient french guide when exiting the Grand Colouir crossing wire. Clambering up. A frightfully bliss and almost endless cliff wall.

Gouterhytta (new) - 3800moh.
Get no sleep at Gouterhut. Its the second day of the new hut they say. 30 degrees near the ceiling, like an oven. No walls, people slam the doors, snore and about. 50 people in this dormitory. Horrible place. Not good for tired climbers who wants a little peace and sleep. I get up and lay me down in the stairs between 1 dormitory and common room. Awake from 20.00 hours to 00.15 hours. 

Gouter 1 July 2013 - top shock!
Hanne, Herbert and I'll get ready at. 00.15. We meet in the cafeteria.
I go down to check how cold it is so I know what to get dressed. Coming down to open the door to shoeroom/gear-room, I see people sitting everywhere. And holy mackarony its the English! "What the hell are you lazy bastards doing here??!" I exclaimed. Big grins and laughs. I hurry up to tell the others.

At. 0100. We start the Mont Blanc summit push.
HR: 159 bpm. 
Altitude: 3821m
3 rope team: Hanne, Me and Herbert.
Duncan leads a team, and usually goes first. Jason the other team.
We do not understand where to go because of darkness. A lot of waiting. Being cold.
Hanne has a guidebook with a map, useful. After a little looking and thinking I finally say, that there is only one peak in the area, and that means that we just have to go upwards. We cant really miss it. Lights begin to appear in direction of the Gouterhut. They move fast in our tracks.

HR: Down to 102 bpm. very low at this altitude and temperature.
Altitude: 3860m
In 35 minutes we have only gained 40 heightmeters.

We continue upwards.
Duncan leading, but has got shrapnel in his " shins " and feels pain because he must make the tracks in the deep snow. We see some light over the Col du Dome . Having sailed a lot of nights on the ocean I understand its the Moon. The other says that there is someone up there. I cant stop myself: "Its the moon you wankers !" I call out laughing.
I think we're moving too slow. Trying to go faster as we get up to the surface.
HR: 154 bpm . 
Altitude: 4200m

Passing Jason and his team at Col du Dome ( between Bosses and Dome ) . Being incredibly sick and tired, feel I must vomit. I stop to rest and try to listen to my body. I realize that the fast pace is too much. Heart rate and activity too high for me at this height.

Vallot Shelter - pushing my limits in a hellhole

Moving upwards I see a little strange metal box, thinking that it must be the toilet or something next to Vallot Shelter. But it is the Vallot Shelter.
Time: 03:40
HR max 140 bpm. HR min: 96 bpm
HR - approx . 125 bpm.
Altitude: 4348m

Going up into the strange entrance the crampons is getting stuck in the metal stairs. I look into the horrible emergency cabin Vallot shelter. 
Instantly feeling sick to vomit, the smell and the sight unbearable. Nasty place. I exclaim "I cant take this smell, I must go out again". But realizing that option is worse and it is very cold outside. Now force myself to enter the shelter. I understand why it's called Shelter. There is no hut, its not a place you want to be. It is made for seeking refuge and beeing in distress.

Matt and Jason have gotten too cold and has started shivering. They want to stay there and asks us to move on. Says they are only going to be there an hour. Lots of discussion. We refuse to let them stay there.

Hanne : You have to eat something Claus. I feel I could vomit, and did not want food. Hannes nagging irritates me, but I said nothing about it. Just do what I think is best. Focus on getting up my bodytemperature and let time pass a little and see if I will feel better and the negative thoughts disappear, right now everything feels really shitty, and I think that it is best to turn. 

I give some handwarmers to Jason and Matt. I loosens Jason 's shoes and crampons. I rub him on the legs and thighs and lend my rain cover that he along with several other layers of material are left with. It feels good to contribute, to help, but I get back to myself. Im cold.
I'm too tired to think about what they frostbitten should do. My feet are cold, I loosen the boots, its helping fast.
People on summitpush enters, eats something, warm up and moves on out again.

Time: 3:40
HR max 140 bpm. HR min: 96 bpm. H: approx 125 bpm.
Altitude: 4348m

We are about 450 meters from the top.
We go out again and since 3 people, has to turn around, we get  Charles leading our rope.
Our position in the team: Charles(front), Hanne , I and finally Herbert.
Duncan goes down with Matt and Jason.

From Vallot Shelter Mont Blanc summit
It has begun to dawn when we come out. Wonderful experience from the terrible Vallot Shelter. I'm warm enough and the light acts as a warm cup of coffee on the mood in the morning.

Moving upwards I see vomit. More guides pushes his clients hard. The crappy french guides.
I have to stop every 10 minutes and rest for 5 feels like. I am the zinc. Easting some nuts, chocolate and something. Slices of bread are useless, no appetite.
A woman vomits while I pass by.

The last 100 meters, the sun is right at us. I am empty. I try to inspire myself to do what feels impossible - to continue upward. Every step I take, I say "YES!", and it helps. I know we are approaching the peak. We're so close. Viewing the height of my watch: 4690 meters. The pulse is 137. The breath is one.

09.34 We reach the summit! On top of europe now. It feels great. Feelings flowing through me. Cheers. A personal achievement for two days with virtually no sleep. We take pictures, films. Tangle ourselfes into our rope. Herbert falls. Enjoying the view. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

The trip up has taken 8 hours and 7 minutes from the time we started at. 01.17.

The descent is almost like a game. Bosses ridge is murky, but I put ice ax firmly into the snow when needed.
Herbert is behind me. Not using a tight rope. I often think that if I slip then fall whole team with me because of it. I tell him, he says yes, but little happens.
The snow is like slush. The sun has warmed it and I sink down with every step. It's not easy to go down without bending the knees. Trying to go zigzag with stiff knees. Impossible. Supporting with the ice ax.

Gouter hut - knees are finished
We reach Gouter hut at. around 12:30 after only 3 hours and 14 minutes. We we eat and meet the others and congratulates each other. We also meet Jason, Matt and Duncan had to turn around. Very good time! Then Hanne and I continue down to the Tete Rousse. We do NOT want to sleep on Gouter hut and pay 100 euros for the night again.

Gran Colouir
Rockslide just before we reach the Grand Colouir. We hear stones rolling above us. Looking up from where we came, we see 10-15 stones coming towards us. I tell Hanne to stop and await to see the direction of the biggest ones. We avoid a few centimeters a 200-pound stone that comes raging against me by jumping over and away from it. We hurry over the slushy snow at Gran Colouir with high adrenaline, I think we're over in less than 30 seconds.

We come down to the Tete Rousse
We have no place there, and dont want to pay another 80 euros for sweety and stinky beds with no sleep. So we decide to try to sleep outside under our makeshift emergency bivuac bought for the occasion. Beetween 3 and 4 in the morning we wake with drip in the face and Hanne shivering with cold, we sneak into the hut and crawls under the tables in the dining room.

The next day we go down and take the train down to Le Fayet and buses up to Chamonix again.
We sleep for two days.


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Mont Blanc 2013 - pushing limits

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