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Thread: Mont Blanc 2003

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Hi everyone.

    Im just thinking of planning an attempt of mont blanc and aint got a clue where to start. The plan is for myself and 3 others to go to charmonix in july 2003 and conqour the beast. We're all competant climbers and fit enough for the challenge. The trouble is the cost and guides for the damn thing!! has anyone been before? how did you get over the whole cost thing? any tips on which guides to use? is a guide necessery? we're thinking of doing the Gouter route and it is straight forward, if anyone has done this route is it worth paying a guide? any info on climbing mont blanc and info regarding cost of things would be very usefull! thanks..

    tom bellis (troubled climber)

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch Drew's Avatar
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    Checkout the BMC website. I believe they have some info on it.

    Also do a google search for "climbing Mont Blanc"

  3. #3
    Widdler Ben Clowes's Avatar
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    Hi Tom -

    Rather a late reply to your post, but I have been to Mt Blanc twice. We were in the same position as you regarding the cost of a guide. Route finding on the Gouter route will not be a problem in good weather conditions, but a nightmare on the dome du gouter (glacier above the gouter ridge) in bad visibility. A GPS is a worthwhile investment!
    Consider taking a tent and camping above the gouter hut. This means carrying heavy packs, but saves a lot of money, and we got more sleep in our tent than friends in the busy hut. Take plenty of food and fuel so you can sit out periods of bad weather - On our first attempt we ran out of fuel as we had only budgeted being up there two days. Dont forget a shovel to dig a tent platform!
    Acclimatisation is key - we went straight to the gouter hut in one day and had bad headaches which went after a day at that height. Better plan would be to camp one night at the foot of the gouter ridge.
    Just make sure you always know where you are. If the visibility is bad or the winds are high, wait for an improvement - it will make the ascent safer and much more enjoyable.
    Be prepared for crowds and rude guides!

  4. #4
    Ultra King Orange Alex Ford's Avatar
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    My boss at work did it last year-I'll ask him if he's got any tips and get back to you.

  5. #5
    ‹bermensch Drew's Avatar
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    So can we camp up beside the Gouter Hut? I have a TN Ultra Quasar, but I was going to take a 2 pole bivi bag, but a lightweight 2-man mountain tent between 2 people, would be nice, and more comfy.

    BTW I'm going there beginning of July this year.

  6. #6
    Ultra King Orange Alex Ford's Avatar
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    Like I say I'll ask him stuff tomoz and get back to you Drew...

  7. #7
    Widdler Ben Clowes's Avatar
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    Yes you can camp just above the Gouter hut on a snowy ridge with fantastic views of the Aiguille du Midi and Chamonix down in the valley. Great spot and it seems to be tolerated - there was a bunch of tents there in 2000 and we were there for about 5 days with no problems. I would leave the bivi bag behind - we also had an ultra quasar and it is much better for sitting out bad weather. We were up on the Jungfrau glacier loast year in bivi bags and it was fine in good weather but miserable in worse conditions!

  8. #8
    Ultra King Orange Alex Ford's Avatar
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    Right...

    My boss (an RAF winter mountain instructor...) says:

    Go light young man, go light. Take it over a couple of days, ideally three, whereby you use the facilities that the hut offers but given the time of year that you are going, don't expect to stay in it...it'll be busy.

    He said take the "railway" (?) as far as you can and have a couple of days to acclimatise and practice your winter skills, you know plodding about across the glacier in crampons and making sure your rope work is up to speed.

    He recommends a VERY early start; he set out at 2:30am and aimed to get on top for very early morning, maybe even sunrise if you can. He reconned that it'd take about 5 hours to get from the hut to the top. That being up the "easy" route doing basically a "snow plod" (his words).

    Thoroughly recommends it as a trip and to be taken over a good week to really enjoy and get used to the altitude. (His partner for the trip really suffered with it and has recommended that you spend at least 3 days getting used to the altitude living in a nice lightwieght tent.)

    As for equipment he says basic walking axe (sorry Joan but he advocates a longer length handle) a short walkers rope (about 30m) nice good winter booties and crampons with anti-balling plates.

    He then spent 20 mins trying to get me to go with him next time...but unfortunately said that I'd have to pay for it. I had to decline...

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    You really ought to know about and practice crevasse rescue. It's pretty unlikely that anyone'll go in a slot on the normal route, but it does happen so you need to know what to do, how to set up a pulley system if the worst occurs and the fallee is unable to extricate themselves using prussick loops etc. Holding someone's fall with one hand while setting up a back-up anchor with the other isn't always as simple as it sounds...

    Sorry if that's all blindingly obvious, but glacier travel is one of the big differences between the UK and bigger hills.

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