Mountaineering – Mount Blanc (4810m)

The highest peak of the Alps , is without a doubt the most sought after mountain in the world. Under-estimated by many, its ascent is a relatively simple snow route at the high altitude which requires a solid physical condition , necessary for the 10/12 hours of effort at high altitude.

Chamonix, the world capital of mountaineering, and the Mont-Blanc massif, perfectly illustrate the role played by the Haute Savoie as a major international tourist destination. In the eighteenth century, the English were the first to come and stay in Chamonix, particularly to observe the glaciers, in flood at that time. These were the famous “travels to the glaciers”.

Today, Mont-Blanc and the great peaks that surround s it, are still legendary, attracting mountain climbers from all four corners of the world.

Despite the trivialisation of this highly coveted summit, Mont Blanc remains a serious mountain climb requiring significant physical commitment as well as technical proficiency. The point of being well prepared is to ensure that you have the best possible chance of actually reaching the roof of Europe.

History and Background

The highest mountain in Western Europe was first climbed on the 8th of August 1786 by a local crystal hunter, Jacques Balmat and a local doctor, Michel Gabriel Paccard . They claimed the prize money that Horace Benedict de Saussure had offered in 1760.

People had been trying for years but the breakthrough didn’t come until the June of 1786 when Jacques Balmat was trapped out overnight on the glacier, AND SURVIVED; thereby destroying local myths and proving that a 2-day ascent was feasible.

Nowadays, in summer, their exploit is repeated by as many as 200 people a day.
The speed record is held by the Swiss P.A. Gobet. He ran from the centre of Chamonix to the summit and back in 5hr 10min !
Most mortals take 2 days and use lifts and trains to cheat for the first few thousand metres !

Our Expedition

The time has come to show, that we not only talk the talk and buy all this shining new gear for thousands and thousands of kronor, but that we actually walk the walk too.

Since Mikael, my climbing buddy, addressed it, I guess I have to mention him in this equation as well. Without him I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to continue doing my hobbies and not only that, I probably wouldn’t be sane either due some earlier life problems and a back injury. I hope You understand that you mean the world of a difference to me!

Stephan & MikaelMe (Stefan) to the left and Mikael to the right.

(Picture by Elisabeth in Jutunheimen, Norway – 2002.)

When this picture was taken, I had only known Mikael for a few days! :))

As you might understand by all this, me and Mikael are leaving for the highest summit in the Alps and we’re doing a trip of a life-time!!

I get goose bumps writing this, but we’re leaving on Friday 030620, Midsummer Eve here in Sweden for 16days of Mountaineering in the French Alps and estimates us to come back the 6th of July.

Warm UpThe plan so far is to do a “warm-up” route with some serious multipitch ice wall-climbing for 2-3days, please refer to the centre picture on the right, and then break camp go down to Chamonix Valley again for some showers, beer and good food.

Summit RouteAfter fixing us up, re-stocking our food supply, and waiting for the right weather conditions  we head of into the glaciated Wilderness to see if we can summit the highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc. The route is set out as on the map on the right.

To view our equipment and nutrition list please refer to the link at the right.

030625 Concluding words after the expedition.

Well… back in Helsingborg, again, 3000km later, back and forth to Chamonix.

I got a really ill with a flu, high fever, headache, runny nose and all that yucky stuff and was totally drained of all power, energy and motivation to do anything like climbing the highest peak in the Alps. We did however, have a pretty good trip, with a few really nice days on the enormous glacier.

This is the story without the happy ending… the good thing is, the mountain is still there tomorrow, even if ‘tomorrow’ will be in a year or even longer…

031026 – Mont Blanc Trip Movie!! (14Mb) (Right click and “Save as..”)only recommended for broadband or faster!

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