The Beauty Of Mont Blanc Mountain
The greatest and most legendary mountain in western Europe, Mont Blanc rises on the border in between France and also Italy.
Experience the splendor of this attractive mountain, as well as learn more about the strong explorers who have pushed the limits on Mont Blanc’s wild alpine surface.
The Goûter Route
Climb the Goûter Route and vsit the glaciers, mountain huts, and exposed ridges that 20,000 people pass by every year on their way to the summit.
The Goûter Route is one of the most popular ways up Mont Blanc.
The Tête Rousse Hut
One of the three big huts on the Mont Blanc massif, Tête Rousse Hut sits at 3,167 meters above sea level. It is the first stop for most climbers on the Goûter Route, and many people spend their first night here to acclimatize to the higher altitude.
The hut faces the northwest rim of l’Aiguille de Bionnassay. However, the hut’s name comes from the small Tête Rousse glacier which resides nearby.
The Grand Couloir
The Grand Couloir is one of the most dangerous sections of the Goûter Route. Climbers traverse the 200-meter ridge slowly and with care.
The couloir is packed with ice and snow which often doesn’t freeze overnight, causing it to melt and expose falling ice and rocks.
The Goûter Hut
The Goûter Hut, at 3,835 meters above sea level, is an on-mountain hotel for climbers who are ascending Mont Blanc along its most popular route. In an effort to preserve the mountain for future generations, climbers are only permitted to take shelter at designated huts.
The four-story hut recently underwent a 6 million euro remodel, making it a world pioneer of sustainable design. Hervé Dessimoz, the hut’s architect, states, “If it’s possible to build a self-sufficient, eco-friendly building at 3,835 meters, there’s no excuse for not doing it at sea level.”
The Bosses Ridge is the final obstacle for climbers attempting to reach the summit of Mont Blanc. The ridge is exposed on both sides, so climbers often experience heavy winds.
But the exposure also provides beautiful views of the snowy Alps and lush valleys below.
Mont Blanc Summit
There are many other routes leading to the summit, but these can be dependent on good conditions and often require more advanced climbing skills.
The Goûter Route, which is not without its own set of dangers, is a more accessible climb for mountaineers at varying skill levels.
Experience remote glaciers accessible only to the most skilled mountaineers.
The Summit of Mont Blanc
At 4,809 meters, Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc took place on August 8, 1786, by Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard. The two French mountaineers completed the climb after hundreds of failed attempts by other alpinists.
Today, more than 20,000 people summit the mountain every year. Among them is Kilian Jornet, who holds the record for the fastest ascent and descent of Mont Blanc.
Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey
To many this might look dangerous, but Kilian Jornet has done this before. The ultramarathoner competes in high mountain races and often climbs without a rope.
He chooses his moves wisely and methodically, saying, “Every step I make is a decision.”
The abundant number of icefalls and glaciers surrounding Mont Blanc make the region a paradise for ice climbers. Climbers seek out frozen trickles of ice on giant faces because they are the gateways to getting to the top.
In this image, Patrick Gabarrou uses ice tools and crampons to ascend an ice climbing route in an otherwise blank sea of rock.
Ice Climbing Near Triangle du Tacul
In this image, Ueli Steck climbs a serac, a large chunk of uplifted ice. All seracs eventually topple over when glacial movement or melting occurs.
This serac’s blue tint was created over time by the compression of individual layers of snow; the weight of the densified layers changes the ice’s crystalline structure which creates various color spectrums.
Jumping Near Col de la Brenva
Surrounded by the Alps, Mont Blanc is a well-known proving ground for up-and-coming athletes to make a name for themselves in the world of action sports.
Candide Thovex, an accomplished freestyle skier, enjoys the sunset by showing off his daring skills. With the help of experienced guides, athletes of all types are able to enjoy what the mountain has to offer.
L’Arête des Bosses
Mountain guiding is a highly respected profession in alpine destinations like Mont Blanc. To work as a mountain guide in France, alpinists must complete a multitude of ascents, pass several exams and spend four years in an apprenticeship with a certified mountain guide.
Patrick Gabarrou is a seasoned guide who has trained many aspiring guides. In this image he joins Laetitia Roux, a ski mountaineering champion, as they travel on the final summit ridge of the Goûter Route, the most common route taken to ascend the mountain. The climbers are connected via a rope which ensures their safety.
North Face of L’Arête des Bosses
Each year, thousands of tourists come to Mont Blanc to ski and snowboard; most of them sample the valley’s famed slopes at one of its many resorts. But some well-trained, expert skiers prefer to make their turns on parts of the mountain that aren’t easily accessible.
In this image, Laetitia Roux and Patrick Gabarrou, two expert skiers, ski off the summit. If conditions are right, it’s possible to ski from the top of Mont Blanc to the town of Chamonix — a distance of more than ten miles.
South Face of Aiguille du Midi
It might look like Catherine Destivelle, a legendary French rock climber, is on a remote peak. But in reality she’s climbing one of the most accessible rock climbing routes in the Alps. The tram station, the Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi, is just a few hundred meters away.
It’s the highest cable car station in the world. If you look closely on the glacier below, you can see another cable car which takes visitors from the French to the Italian side of the mountain.
South Face of Pointe Lachenal
When alpinist Ueli Steck traveled over rock, ice and snow he was mixed climbing. The specialized tools he used, crampons and ice axes, are designed to dig into ice and snow.
But in mixed climbing those tools are also used on dry rock. Crampons are metal plates with spikes that attach to the soles of winter boots; ice axes are handtools that pierce ice or hook onto rock edges.
The Changing Of Mont Blanc Massif
Due to rising temperatures in recent years, the glaciers in certain areas of the massif are disappearing.
A Longer Approach
The effects of climate change are visible in the French Alps. The Mer de Glace glacier has receded more than a mile from its position in 1850. Other glaciers, located in the south of France, have melted even faster.
A Changing Vertical Landscape
With five decades of experience climbing on Mont Blanc, French alpinist Patrick Gabarrou has seen how climate change is affecting the region.
Mer de Glace
As temperatures rise, the Mer de Glace, or “Sea of Ice,” has lost nearly 400 feet of thickness over the past century. The gray colored terrain at the glacier’s edges indicate the heights the ice once reached.
Train in the Valley
The athletes hone their skills in the valley below the Mont Blanc massif.
Craftsmanship in the Valley
The Chamonix Valley is full of artists who chose to live below the Mont Blanc massif. On the north side of Chamonix, Peter Steltzner crafts one-of-a-kind skis from layers of wood, fibers and carbon at his Rabbit on the Roof workshop.
The wooden skis are almost too beautiful to use.
Creativity — With or Without Snow
In addition to being a freestyle skier, Candide Thovex is an accomplished filmmaker. He films himself skiing on surfaces that are unimaginable to most — including on grass.
Training in the Mountains
When Kilian Jornet isn’t competing, the ultramarathoner trains on trails overlooking the Mont Blanc massif. This path is part of the of the grueling Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a 104-mile race he’s won many times. During the UTMB, he’ll run over jagged rocks, across glaciers and through other treacherous terrain.