4810-meter test which is situated on the border of France and Italy. How to climb at the top of the highest mountain in Europe? How to do it safely and come back? How to prepare for the ascent?
Tour du Mont Blanc is not a mountain climbing for everyone. But the tips presented in the article can also be used in other mountains hiking, which are a good workout before you eventually start tour du Mont Blanc. When you feel confident on the trails of mountains such as the Tatras, when you have the experience of climbing the snowy mountains, only then you should go to the Western Alps.
This mountain is the dream of thousands of mountain hikers. For some of them tour du Mont Blanc is the main achievement to which they aspire. For others it is one of the stages in their development. In any case, tour du Mont Blanc is a great adventure among the magnificent mountain scenery.
Safety measures while tour du Mont Blanc
You should not plan such ascension, if you don’t know the basics. Although tour du Mont Blanc is considered to be technically not too difficult, it requires knowledges of surviving in winter conditions at high altitude. A reasonable minimum that you need to climb is taking a course of tourism in mountains at high altitude. Which taught about the rules of using ice axes and сrampons, insurance during the campaign, teamwork and the basics of saving from avalanches. It lasts about five days and gives a good basis for starting your own adventure in the Alps.
It is even better to take a course on high-altitude tourism, followed by a course of climbing. He teaches the principles of climbing, teaches the correct insurance, and is good for entering the complex mountain routes. It will take more time, but if you are serious about mountain climbing, it is worth it.
Of course, there are “heroes” who managed Mont Blanc hike with almost zero knowledge of the movement of the Alpine terrain. But, unfortunately, there are those who returned by helicopter with mountain rescuers. Accidents cannot be completely avoided. But if there is a possibility to reduce the risk of their occurrence in your case, why not to use it?
Ice cracks and the risk of death from hypothermia greatly complicate the ascent. Tour du Mont Blanc requires insurance skills and knowledge of the use of Alpine equipment. It also requires proper acclimatization and gradual adjustment to the height.
When to start the Mont Blanc hike
In theory, Mont Blanc can be climbed through all the year. But in the summer season of course it will be a little easier. It lasts from June to September. In October – May, the temperature drops much below -20 degrees, and the huts and refuges are closed. Although the winter plots in this period remain opened, they are usually for 15-20 people.
Where does the Mont Blanc hike begin
Usually the starting point is Chamonix in France. Arriving here, you can stay at Camping Les Arolles, a popular place in the center of Chamonix. The second good option is the village of Les Houches. It is 8 km away from Chamonix, where you can stay at camping Bellevue. It is a little further from the center of the valley, but it is the most popular starting point to the top of the Mont Blanc.
Where to overnight while tour du Mont Blanc
Accommodation in Chamonix is not a problem. The difficulties of Mont Blanc hike begin higher.
On the classic tour du Mont Blanc there is usually no problem to find a free space near Tet-Rus. There is always a place to spend the night. However, Aiguille du Guter, located above, accommodates 120 people.
In the summer season, places should be booked in advance, otherwise you will remain “without a roof”, the queue of applicants is quite big. You can’t just come hoping that you can be accommodated. You’re much more likely to be sent back down. Booking for Mont Blanc hike is available here. You can buy food at the huts, but it is quite expensive. So it makes sense to bring food while Mont Blanc hike.
The tent could be a good alternative, but in recent years, the French authorities have introduced the special restrictions on camping in nature. Back in 2009, it was possible to sleep next to the shelter. Currently, there is a strict ban on camping, and its implementation is well monitored. The violation may result in a huge fine (up to 6000 euros). Also, the Vallot hut that is situated on the routes is not a place to sleep. It is only used to wait while it’s bad weather and in case of danger.
Similar rules prevail on the 3M route, but the tent unofficially allowed on the Col du Midi. On the Italian road you can pitch a tent at the top of the glacier, under the ridge.
Tour du Mont Blanc without preparation leads to troubles and diseases. It is necessary to let the body adapt, so it can remain at the high altitude. A one-day or two-day staying at 3500-4000 meters will give a good acclimatization.
The total time required for a good acclimatization and climbing to the top without unpleasant sensations is a week. As the Mont Blanc mountains is famous for its unpredictability, so it is necessary to allocate 9-10 days for climbing and returning.
The helicopter of the French emergency services will transport the victim free of charge. However, it will be necessary to pay for treatment and the other transport if there is the occasion.
Necessary for Mont Blanc hike equipment
Crampons and an ice axes are the basic. But you also need to know how to use them.
For Mont Blanc hike you need a set of appropriate clothing – warm underwear and a heat layer (eg, sweatshirt + down jacket), windbreaker and pants. Warm gloves and hat.
All this should be supplemented by high Alps shoes shoes, allowing you to attach semi-automatic crampons.
You will need a helmet, harness and rope, which bind when walking in a team.
During tour du Mont Blanc you’ll need a flashlight at night.
And of course you can not do it without glasses. You will need to use the ice glass filter 4 , which protects from the sun’s rays on the side and bottom . Do not forget to Mont Blanc hike the face and hand cream with a filter and a protective lipstick.
Even if you sleep under the roof and not in tents, a warm sleeping bag better be taken.
Climbing to the highest point in Europe is a unique adventure, but it requires preparation and training. As well as the experience of traveling through difficult snowy terrain. All the necessary skills for tour du Mont Blanc must be practiced in advance under the professional control.
And when you are standing near the mountain – get enough patient and be careful on the way to the top.
See you upstairs!