MONT BLANC


The highest peak in the Alps and the birthplace of alpinism, Mont Blanc holds a special place in mountaineering folklore. It was the first mountain climbed for no reason other than the challenge of doing it (plus, it must be admitted, a financial reward), and as such, most historians pinpoint Mont Blanc as the peak where mountaineering was 'invented'. A Genevan scientist, Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, was fascinated by the mountain and offered a large reward to anyone who could make it to the summit. On 8th August 1786 two local Chamonix men, Jacques Balmat and Doctor Michel-Gabriel Paccard relieved him of his cash by reaching the top via the North Ridge of the Dôme du Goûter. Two years later, de Saussure himself made the third ascent and in 1808 Marie Paradis became the first woman to summit. Balmat, Paccard, de Saussure and Paradis are all rightly revered in Chamonix, and some of the town's central streets and squares bear their names. The statue of Balmat pointing out the route to the summit to de Saussure is one of Chamonix's best known landmarks and Paccard has his own statue 50m away.
The full history of the mountain is fascinating and well worth reading up on if you need some inspiration, or just enjoy good, and often terrifying, tales of derring-do.
The two most popular routes by far are the Trois Monts Route, from the Aiguille du Midi, and the Goûter Route, which starts from the top of the Nid d'Aigle train. These two routes are described in detail in this chapter, as is the Royal Traverse over the Aiguille de Bionnassay, a longer and more serious undertaking which ranks as one of the best multi-day adventures in the Alps. We have also included five huge routes from the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif - the so-called 'wild side' of the range - including the Peuterey Integrale, the longest route in the Alps and a much sought-after tick. The Grand Mulets Route has become increasingly dangerous due to the recession and opening of the glaciers. Nowadays is only followed in spring on skis.

Routes

9 trad routes (PD...ED1)
Graded List of Routes
List of First Ascents
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Buttress (click for routes) No. of Routes Route Type Sunshine
or shade
Approach walk Other
Trois Monts Route
A long route at altitude, the Trois Monts is a stunning way to the top of Mont Blanc. It is not...
1
Trad
Lots of sun!
Uphill

30 mins

Goûter Route
The Goûter is the most popular route on Mont Blanc. It's an enjoyable two day journey and a goal for
1
Trad
Lots of sun!
Up and down

180 mins

Royal Traverse
One of the great alpine traverses. The route is long and requires good fitness and acclimatistion...
1
Trad
Lots of sun!
Up and down

120 mins

Southwest Face
One of the wildest faces on western Europe's highest peak, this side of Mont Blanc is the closest...
2
Trad
Lots of sun!
Up and down

30 mins

Frêney Face
The Frêney Face of Mont Blanc is arguably the wildest and most remote face described in this book. B
2
Trad
Lots of sun!
Up and down

120 mins

Peutérey Ridge
Home to the longest climb in the Alps, the Peuteréy Integrale is a huge undertaking and a test of ju
2
Trad
Lots of sun!
Uphill

40 mins

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