It’s Mont Blanc time!

I haven’t updated my blog for some time now. I’ve had a really busy time at work, have moved house, and have all sorts of other excuses that I won’t bore you with. I also owe my blog two updates still – one my training weekend for Elbrus in North Wales, and the other the National Three Peaks Challenge. I’m happy to say I survived both unscathed, and will get round to posting the details as soon as I have time.

I am ready for this trip away like almost no other. For one, I haven’t had a week off work since May of last year. It’s way too long, and I am feeling it. Secondly I have always revered Mont Blanc. It is for me almost as iconic as Everest, if only because most people regard it (wrongly of course) as the highest mountain in Europe (that accolade belongs to Elbrus, where I will be next month), and of course Europe is where I live and belong. Just as importantly, this is a barometer for me, as I have walked and walked this year, and I think I am just ready 🙂

I am not taking MB lightly. For one, I know that over 1,500 people have died trying to climb it. Secondly it is at 4,810m (15,782 feet) and so altitude and fatigue are going to be an issue. Thirdly I don’t believe the weather forecast is good. There has been a lot of low and late season snow, which can cover crevasses and make things treacherous. What will be will be I suppose, and I believe in fate. I also know that the company that I am going with, Mont Blanc Guides, have an impeccable safety record, and won’t even attempt a summit if the weather isn’t appropriate. And that suits me just fine – I’d rather sit and watch a storm in a nice little café (or bar, better) from the town of Chamonix than be in the middle of it risking life and limb. This is after all one quarter of my whole year’s holiday allowance here!

My time there will consist of three days doing glacier training and acclimatisation, including an ascent of Gran Paradiso, the highest mountain solely in Italy (4,061m, or 13,323feet). If that all goes well we will be let loose on the big one. I cannot wait, and am just hoping for tears of joy and a summit. I’ll take just the summit in fact, and if so the other will I am sure happen!

Mont Blanc - beautiful.

Mont Blanc – beautiful.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures. The above shows just how dramatic and majestic a mountain this really is. The next below shows the route that I believe that I will be taking form the Gouter hut to the summit:

The final route to the top - the Grand Couloir may well be tricky...

The final route to the top – the Grand Couloir may well be tricky…

And finally this is a picture of the Bosses ridge which happens somewhere along the way. I just hope I’m brave enough to be able able to hold onto my camera if/when I get on it 🙂

The Bosses Ridge - I'm ready for you, I think!

The Bosses Ridge – I’m ready for you, I think!

So I set off on Wednesday morning – wish me luck, as I’m going to need it in abundance.

 

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