I have now been up the Mt. Blanc 22~23 times, and I've only backed off 5 times. This may sound like a lot but its nothing compared to some of the local Chamonix guides that I have spoken with (220+ times).
Its a fabulous mountain, with lots of history. I hope to climb it many more times, as long as I never catch up to my age, although that will probably happen soon. It would be nice to visit some of the other more obscure routes in the future.
There is no sunrise like a sunrise from the summit of Mt. Blanc. You can see and sometimes identify mountains on either end of the chain of the Alps, from the south of France all the way to Austria.
I reached the summit with 3 mates after passing 2 nights in tents. On descent we spent another night on Aiguille du Gouter because we were too tired after having wake up at 1:30 and walked for 10.5 hours. The Gouter hut is overcrowded in July and August. We were very lucky with the weather, otherwise you can't stay 4 days on the mountain. Read the weather information at Maison de la Montagne in Chamonix before parting. Be carefull with the overcrowd on the Gouter Couloir and the summit cornice. Also wear a helmet on the route between Tete Rouse and Gouter huts because of rocks falling. Go in good phisical condition because of the effort and height.
This was my first time on a glacier, first time with crampons,
first time over 4000m, first time soloed a route, first time ... ;-)
Don't try this if you value your life !
If you have the knowledge & strenght though, this is
a far better (less crowded) route than the Gouter.
Went up unexperienced without a guide. Thanks to good weather we made it to the top. Tips: Bring a guide with you!
The whole story is to be read at: http://www.cern.ch/johan.karlsson/montblancsummary.html
Very nice mountain.
We make it on 2 days on the usual route (Goutier Route). The first day is around4-5 hours of walking and a little non-technic rock climb.
The second day (starting at 3 am) is much more difficult, and it took 5 hour to reach the summit.
It's worth it!
Reached the summit with Francis Kelsey in absolute perfect conditions. No wind, no clouds, and not even very cold. We left the Cosmiques Hut at around 2AM and had easy climbing up Tacul, where we took our first break. The climb to the ridge on Maudit was also straightforward, although quite steep near the top. After negotiating a somewhat unstable snow bridge, we reached the ridge just in time for sunrise. With the most difficult section completed, we headed down to the col and started the long slog to the summit. I started to feel quite tired at around 4,600 m, but enjoyed great views in all directions. We reached the summit at 7AM, which we shared with about 25 others (most from the Gouter Route).
After 15 min on the summit, we started down the Gouter Ridge. Our plan was to descend the Gouter route and catch the train back to Chamonix. But since it was still quite early we elected to descend the Grandes Mullets glacier to the A. du Midi cable car mid-station. This likely shortened the descent since there was still quite a bit of snow over terrain which would usually be loose rock and boulders. The last hour was a bit frustrating, since the cable car station was clearly visible, yet we seemed to be making little progress. Eventually we made it and rode down in style to Chamonix.
I found this to be a straightforward but very strenuous climb. The ascent is quite long distance-wise and involves multiple ups and downs which is challenging psychologically. There's nothing like climbing 400 m only to lose 200 m almost immediately. The descent is 2,500 m which wreaks havoc on even the strongest knees. And its simply a long day of climbing. We took 10 hours for the traverse, which I think is probably shorter than average, given my physical conditioning at the time and nearly perfect conditions on the route. I'm guessing that some parties may take more than 12 hours. But the suffering is well worth it, since you really see a lot of the mountain.
Misleading climb, similar to Denali but much shorter! Weather can change quickly, can be very crowded with climbers of various skill levels. Beautiful sunrise views and strong sense of accomplishment upon the summit and return.
Successful on the second try - perfect weather (this time). We climbed via the Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit, down via les Grand Mulets. Grandiose views but crowded. No serious difficulties except a serac to pass under.
Crowded but beautiful, easy but dangerous. Don't underestimate this mountain!
Many people get killed here as it is said to be so 'easy' . Take your time, be aware of the weather and be prepared for bad times. When descending the 3 montblancs route (bvery beautiful, quiet but also verytiring), know how th use your crampons and rope. The day we descended 4 people died there as they did not think it was steep enough to use a running belay...
Check out my 7 summits pages!