5 years after my first ascent I went back for the Mt Blanc traverse.
Leaving Chamonix the 28 in the morning, Marian and I reached the overcrowded Gouter hut in the afternoon.
(noticed that the 'bowling alley' was gone! No more snow in the gully, but still plenty of rocks sizzling down due to careless climbers on the ridge...)
We left at 0300 and summited around 0800. The night was beautiful, clear and cold, a half-moon, no headlights needed.
The summit was crowded and cold, but the view still amazing.
Down the NE face, great stepping down soft snow. The Mur de Cote was a bit icy, but the main obstacle was again the Mont Maudit. 5 years ago it was a 40m 40 degrees downclimn, now it was 70m 70 degrees... We downclimbed and abseiled together with a couple of nice Canadians and some other people were very happy they could use our ropes as well...
The bergschrund also was bigger and had to be downclimbed as well, then up to Tacul and in a out half an hour down the 600m face...
through the Col du Midi oven, then the hardest partr: up towards Aiguille du midi, if you are tired, this is a long way up....
I did Mont Blanc by tent together with 3 other friends. We started the 15th of August in Les Houches (+/- 800m above sea level). The first day we went by foot to Nid d'Aigle situated at 2 372m, this is where the train ends. There we placed for the first time our tents. The trip is very nice but I had to get used to my backpack (+/- 21kgs).
The second day we went to the campsite at the Goûter Hut (3 800m). During the day we passed the Tête Rousse hut and the Couloir to ascend to Goûter hut (sometimes rather dangerous).
On the 17th of August we left at about 3.30 AM to go to the summit. Because it is still dark, you can see a sort of "Christmas tree" going up the mountains. When you look down, you see all the tiny lights in the valley and if you look up you see more stars than anyone can imagine, its really marvellous. We reached at about 9.00 AM the summit. This is something I will never forget. I've posted some pictures so anyone can see how nice it is. At around 9.30 AM we started our descent to the Goûter camp site the take our tents and head further to Nid d'Aigle which we reached at about 8.30 PM.
Although I haven't had big conditional problems on the way up, the way down was very hard for me, especially for my upper legs (the backpack, the bumps on your knees,…).
The last day (18th of August) we started very early with our descend to reach Les Houches at 11.00 AM.
I must say that this was may best vacation so far and I hope to do more of this mountains in the (near) future. I recommend everybody to do this mountain by tent, it is a lot harder, but more fun and adventure.
after two days of bad weather there was 50cm of fresh snow. The funny thing was that at the Cosmique refuge it seemed like nobody wanted to start first due to this situation so at the end I started first tracing the first part of the route. Then other parties came to help.
The weather was fantastic, no wind. Like last year we came back by the Guter route.
This year I was with my wife!
Busy as usual - weather window looked good and the team climbing well, so Pushed from Tete Rousse through Gouter Refuge (Reached 9.00am) Few hours rest and then set off at 12.30 pm on to summit at 4.40pm. Low threat of thunderstorms or avalanche.
Quiet on route from Gouter to summit - rare experience of the summit with only 6 people ! (All our own guided team) Excellent views all round - breathtaking. Hardwork above 4000m although aclimatised on Aiguille du Tour.
Back to Gouter by 8.00pm -
Well organised guided team from Jagged Globe (UK) - Thanks to Andy, Shaun, Richard x 2 (Guides), plus team Peter, Mark, Shaun, Kathy, Jessica, Mike, Nigel & Andrea for making this a grand experience.
9 of us came from Zagreb to Chamonix on 10th of August, after 15 hours of driving. We waited 3 hours alone to get through Mont Blanc tunnel. Miserable, rainy, weather greeted us at Chamonix. This was the weekend of heavy floods around the Europe. Here we were joined by Jordi, from Barcelona and that made us an international expedition :-)
The weather was the same today but anyway we decided to go to Tete Rousse refuge in the afternoon, forecast for tomorrow was better. We set off to Les Houches cable car and than usual ride with Mont Blanc tram to Le Nid d'Aigle. We were in between low and higher clouds so something of spectacular scenery was visible. Rain stopped fortunately. At 2700m it started to snow again and we entered clouds. After 1.45h of quick ascending I reached very crowded Tete Rousse refuge (3167m).
We didn't hurry in the morning because our goal of the day was Gouter refuge. As forecasted, weather cleared so we could enjoy great views. There was more than half meter of fresh snow and it was cold. Strong north wind was blowing of huge clouds of snow from Aiguille de Bionnassay's (4052m) ridge, Himalayan scenery. Gouter refuge was shining in the morning sun, high above us, on the edge of abyssal cliff. We started at 9.20h. At Grand Couloir there were some difficulty, lot of snow and path wasn't holding for long, wind quickly blew away steps made by preceding people. Also in the upper part of trail there was quite lot of ice, to make the ascent more amusing. My sight was almost all the time locked at mighty north face of Aiguille de Bionnassay. After 3.20h of climbing, at 12.40h, we reached the true Le Nid d'Aigle (Eagles nest), the balcony of Gouter refuge. By than, there were not to many people in the hut but the view bellow, towards Tete Rousse was amazing, lines and lines of roped people were coming up. Since we had our reservation that wasn't so worrying. Till evening refuge was packed full. I had to watch beautiful sunset from the room since there was no way to get out without stepping on someone's head. And that meant bye bye to some beautiful pics. Sun sanked in the sea of clouds, which was deep bellow us.
I didn't sleep well. We were in the beds since 8pm but I couldn't fall asleep till 11. I couldn't wait to get up and it seams no one could either. By 1.30am whole hut was up already. I was ready to go by 2am, but some members of our party could not find backpacks in the sea of other backpacks, one could not find ice ax, chaos. Than, just before leaving, we found out that someone took one of our 3 ropes. We started quite late, at 3.30am. Wind wasn't as strong as yesterday but still quite strong. Cold air was filled with particles of ice. Sight of endless row of lights, ascending the slope of Dome du Gouter will remain with me till the end of time, it is truly amazing sight. Me and Roman had great tempo, taking over party after party, but in the end very long line of people, which was to long to overtake, slowed us down. Result? It suddenly became cold. Dawn started to break at Dome du Gouter (4300m). It was very cold since wind was strong here (60-70 km/h) and temperature around -10 C. My hand fingers were numb (I have to buy most expensive gloves that exist on this planet!). After 2.30h, at 6am, we reached Vallot refuge. Inside we waited for sun to get up and tried to get warm (mission impossible!). At 7am Sun was up enough so we continued towards Mont Blanc. One person on our rope was suffering from altitude so I couldn't get my rhythm. He even fell and pulled me few meters down the slope till my crampons and ice ax stopped me. I lost lot of strength because of that. We were resting more than we were walking, so it was damn cold :-) Wind was lifting up snow all time from Bosses ridge, filling the air with shiny particles of ice. After 2.40h of suffering and enjoying, at 9.40am we reached the SUMMIT! What a feeling. Wind slowed down considerably by now so we could really enjoy on this amazing spot of our planet. View was crystal clear, everything above the horizon visible, not a single cloud. 8 of us, out of 10, reached the summit. We spent 50 mins on top. Descent was pure enjoyment. There was no need to be roped, snow was excellent (hard), wind became just a light breeze, views stunning. We stopped at Vallot again (this time outside) and Gouter refuge before reaching Mont Blanc tram at 18.20h. That evening we were watching great Mont Blanc from Chamonix. Simply fantastic!
Climbed with Fred Spicker.
Really bad thunderstorms throughout the night and high winds the next morning led to a very late start. Only two other parties when we made the summit. Most turned back or never started. Awesome view! Had intended to traverse over Maudit and Tacul, but conditions did not allow. Good thing, too - lightning had hit the Midi cable car station and burned it down!
Set off from the Aiguille du Midi at midnight and we were the first group out. As we looked behind us from the slopes of Mt Blanc de Tacul we saw a line of points of light from the head torches of those leaving from the cosmiques hut and the cable car station behind us. There must have been at least 100 people.
We took a break on the way up the face of mt blanc de tacul and the group behind us refused to overtake because they were following our route! It was a pleasure to get to the shoulder of Mt. Blanc de tacul, but the hardest bit was to come - the side of Maudit. I was not well acclimatised and this was my first big climb. It was hard work but good experience.
The summit was cold and there was a strong wind blowing, we didn't stay for long! Way down was much easier but there were more people using the gouter ridge to ascend.
7 hrs to summit from the cable car station. Would be less if I had been acclimatised.
Although Ivano and I had to carry very heavy backpacks with tent, sleeping bags etc. because of our 2 bivouacs before and after opening our new route on Mont Maudit (Eperon Gousseault), we found it boring to return from Col de la Brenva the same way on which we reached it (Aiguille du Midi). So we decided that it would be more fun, if we made our descent including an ascent of Mont Blanc - and it was fun. Our first plan was even, that we did our second bivouac after our new route on Mont Maudit on top of Mont Blanc. But because we had started quite late the day before for our new route and therefore had reached Col de la Brenva quite late in the evening, we had decided to make our second bivouac on Col de la Brenva as well instead on Mont Blanc, although it would probably have been more funny on the summit of Mont Blanc ....
We were very lazy in the morning, got up late, took a long breakfast , enjoyed ourselves, the mountains and the great weather and started from Col de la Brenva not before noon. Therefore we were probably the last persons who reached Mont Blanc from Col de la Brenva that day .... the advantage: very few people whom we met during the descent.
Descent of Mont Blanc via Aiguille du Goûter and Tete Rousse.
Did the standard route with a friend last summer. We bivied above the Gouter hut and got a good start before the hut crowd got on the route. Perfect snow conditions and low wind. A nice summit which you'll share with a good sized crowd on the good days.
Nice snow route with no real technical difficulties - provided the weather is good. Greatest danger other than bad weather (high winds, white outs, etc) and stonefall in the couloir are the unprepared novices who crowd the route. Be prepared, fit, and fast. The couloir above the Tete Rouse Hut must be crossed quickly and during the descent, be sure not to get off route and start descending it by mistake.
If you have successfully summitted peaks such as Rainier or Shasta (Hotlum) on your own, you can do Mont Blanc.
Climbed with Monica Spicker.
Storm on the night of the 18th lasted until late morning. We left the hut a about 10:30 AM and reached the summit at about 3:30 PM. New snow and high winds - but not as many people as I understand is normal.
One of the worst climbing experiences of my life and also the most thrilling. Left the snow dome above the Gouter hut at 3 a.m. with clear skies. Once we reached the dome du gouter we came into a complete whiteout with horrible winds. We pushed on with great diificulty and approaching the Valot Hut we realized their was no chance and rather than getting stuck in the ice box refuge we made a break for the return camp. It ended up being 100 kmh+ winds with four feet of snow and a complete whiteout obscuring the trail. Good work with the compass brought us back to relative safety.
Thanks to SummitPost, I have looked two parners to climb Mont Blanc: Mike and Jeff. Mike come from USA, Jeff from Germany (but he is USA citizens) and I from Italy. We have met ourselves In Chamonix and Thursday we left to Ref. Du Gouter. Weather not good, snowed. The refuge was full and we have slept on the floor (and we have payed for this!). Friday morning we have started to tclimb Mont Blanc at 2:45 and we're arrived on the peak at 8:10. Too cold, we're been for about half an hour inside the bivouac Vallot (very crowed) to wait the sunrise. On the peak just a time to take some photos and then we come back to Ref. du Gouter and then to Tramway du Mont Blanc at 16.30 (and we have left to Bellevue at 17:50). Geat weather, great day, and great climbing!
good conditions but very windy. Left the refuge at 2:00 AM and reached the top at 10:30 (slow due to very strong wind!!). Way back on the French normal route.
Nice route with litte ice climbing but a lot of people
The weather was very bad: fog and snowfall. Therefore we turned around at P. 4000m, shortly below the Vallot Bivouac Hut. It was a wise decision. To my experience, this is one of the most important things, which one has to learn for safe climbing: to find the right time to turn around.
About 4 weeks later (on August 14, 2000), I reached the summit of Mont Blanc - with blue sky and great sunshine.
A fantastic but long day from our camp site on top of the Mer de Glace just below the Cosmiques Hut. Left at midnight with the other hundred or so climbers but made good time and were one of the first to arrive at the steep climb below Mt.Maudit. Unfortunately one of the four on the rope came down with altitude fatigue after the steep section (which was a headache lead fighting off other climbers) but decided to push on. The pace slowed and only reached Mt.Blanc summit at 11:00am. A fantastic narrow summit with great views, and then pushed off down towards the Bossons Glacier route - literally a snow desert burning any exposed skin - and stayed at the hut above La Jonction. Cream crackered but very happy!
Started at the Aguille du Midi and with telemarks, skiid the ridge to the shagrin of onlookers (shock for myself!) and slept at the Cosmiques. We started our ascent at 3am which hindsight tells me was a little late when telemarking the 3M route. Sunrise greeted us spectacularly on Maudit, but it was then that we realized that the wind would be fierce. It was slow going into the wind and the velocity rose to 70K plus (probably reaching temp. of -60)! My skins failed at one point on Maudit and it looked tricky to complete from there, but after some maintenance, and with a little luck, we carried on. The wind became so fierce underneath the summit that we secured our gear including skiis, and climbed the final approach with only our axes in hand. Silent , clear and magnificent at the summit with no other people around. Despite significant frostbite to the face, and a scary fall at the start, successfully tele'd down the north face and through the Grand Mulets !! A gorgeous and dangerous day at times, and certainly this mountain commands my respect and awe. Can't wait to do other routes!
We (my father, two brothers and a friend of mine) were very inexperienced climbers at that moment. We have no experience with glacier climbing methods but it didn't matter us, we had the strengh. We tried Mont Blanc after having hiking a lot in the Massif: Mer de Glace, MB du Tacul, Glacier des Bossons, Petite Aiguille Verte. Passed the night before in refuge du Goûter (2-3 hours of sleep with every kind of noises on the dining-room floor), next day we reached refuge-bivouac Vallot after having started at 3 AM. We had a voting so descending was the winner (I voted to ascend) because people thought we have no time resting to take tramway back to the valley. Also a strong wind blowed at Vallot and we peged out. We just took the last railway to Saint Gervais.
We were only four climbers starting from refuge cosmiques but we could watch about 150 headlamps starting from the grandes mulets
Reached summit with blue sky and sunshine