A perfect route with little objective danger, good for acclimatisation and great training for our expedition to the Himalaya in little over a week. The route starts with a tram ride from St Gervais which usually takes you up to the Nid d’aigle which is at 2380m. Unfortunately due to a collapsed tunnel the tram was only running to Belvue which added an extra 800m of ascent and about 1h30 each way. Good training i thought.
looking up to the summit of mont Blanc, 2.30.am
I planned to spend the night in the Gouter refuge at 3800m which would involve around 2000m of ascent, quite a long day, and I wanted to get there early to have enough time to recover for the next day. Up to the Nid D’aigle, on glacier de bionassay to the Tete Rousse and then up the grand couloir to the Gouter hut. The day passed pretty quickly, i felt strong and was moving quickly and i was enjoying the freedom of climbing Solo, moving at your own pace resting when you want, I did miss the banter you have with a climbing partner though.
After around 6 hours of climbing i made it to the Gouter hut and felt awesome, not feeling the altitude as I thought i would and legs felt fresh considering just completed 2000m of ascent. The hut was welcoming and I met several brits who were part of a guided group going up the Blanc, it reminded me of my first summer in chamonix 6 years ago wanting to try the same route but couldn’t due to bad weather. We had a great tea of sausage and mash I re-hydrated with liters of energy drink and tried to get an early night but failed due to some horrendous snoring!
Walking along the Gouter ridge
Up at 2am and i was relieved to be away from the snorers, had a bit of brekkie got my things together and started on the route about 2.30am, one of the first to set off. It was an incredible night! The full moon lighting up the snow and the surrounding mountians making an spectacular views. I was so psyched to be there and took loads of photos, it was like a different world and it was just awe inspiring to be there. I overtook the people in front after an hour or so of climbing, I moved quickly and felt really strong.
I reached the summit around 5am just in time for an incredible sunrise, i don’t think there is a better place to have been. Amazing colours, really high above the clouds and no-one else there, just unbelievable! It was pretty cold so i didn’t stay at the summit for long and had to commence the epic descent to make it down before the thunderstorm began as it was forecast in the afternoon.
A ran down most of the upper section back to the gouter hut passing a lot of people with their heads bowed, struggling making upward progress toward the summit. Climbing solo is great for being able to move quickly when you have energy and it meant i could descend the upper section in around an hour to get back to the hut to have a well deserved litre of tea. I knew the next 2000m of descent were going to be a chore and i was reluctant to set off but needed to get off the mountain that night so i could work the next day. A lot of people do it in 3 days, splitting up the monotony of the descent.
reaching the Vallot hut around 4.00pm
I was back at the tram around 12 with sore feet and thighs and i was so chuffed to have climbed Mont Blanc on my days off, in good style and felt strong the whole way. i felt like all the training had paid off and that i’m ready as i can be for Broad Peak next week. A great coupld of days in an incredible part of the world!<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center