Mont Blanc: Highest Peak In The Alps And Western Europe

Mont Blanc, at a height of 4,805.59 m (15,766 ft), is known as the highest peak in the Alps and Western Europe. The peak is located right outside the Caucasus Mountains. It is on the French-Italian border, making it a part of both countries. After Mount Elbrus, Mont Blanc is the most prominent mountain in all of Europe. Likewise, it is the eleventh most prominent mountain in the whole world. The mountain is very famous among adventurers who go to the peak for activities like hiking, skiing, snowboarding, trail running, climbing, etc. The most common route to climb the Mont Blanc is the Goûter Route, which takes around 2 days.

There are plenty of interesting facts that you may want to know about Mont Blanc; make sure to read till the end of this article, especially if you are thinking of climbing Mont Blanc!

History of Mont Blanc

History of Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Frankish Empire under Charlemagne. Moreover, it also remained the tallest in the Holy Roman Empire up until 1792. The first recorded attempt to make an ascent up to Mont Blanc was made by Swiss naturalist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in 1760. He went to Chamonix and observed the peak first. Thereafter, he attempted the climb alongside the Courmayeur mountain guide Jean-Laurent Jordaney, a native of Pré-Saint-Didier. This guide had been known to have been with De Saussure since 1774 during the climb of Miage Glacier and Mont Crammont.

The first people to ascend the mountain were Jacques Balmat and the doctor Michel Paccard on August 8, 1786. During that time, the mountain was neither in France nor in Italy.

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure was responsible for initiating the climb, which was the first and only successful ascent of Mont Blanc at the time. Likewise, Marie Paradis became the first woman to ever climb Mont Blanc in 1808.

Where is Mont Blanc situated?

Where is Mont Blanc situated?

There is always been a debate about the location of Mont Blanc. The peak is situated in both France and Italy on the border along the watershed from the Aiguille des Glaciers to Mont Dolent, which extends to the border of Switzerland.

The French officials are not yet in acceptance of the mountain being a part of Italy as they think the summits are avoided by the border. In their opinion, the peak only belongs to France. But geography says otherwise. The debate for the ownership of Mont Blanc started during the French Revolution.

The treaty of 15 May 1796 states,

“The border between the Sardinian kingdom and the departments of the French Republic will be established on a line determined by the most advanced points on the Piedmont side, of the summits, peaks of mountains and other locations subsequently mentioned, as well as the intermediary peaks, knowing: starting from the point where the borders of Faucigny, the Duchy of Aoust and the Valais, to the extremity of the glaciers or Monts-Maudits: first the peaks or plateaus of the Alps, to the rising edge of the Col-Mayor.”

It also states that Mont Blanc is visible from Chamonix and Courmayeur, but in reality, this is not the case at all.

The Swiss map, which is used as the modern map, shows a region of disputed territory surrounding both Mont Blanc and the Dôme du Goûter. However, the Federal Office of Topography’s plotting suggests the mountain to be located alongside the watershed, which moves between the border of both France and Italy, thus proving that the peak belongs to both countries.

Climbing Mont Blanc

Climbing Mont Blanc

Climbing Mont Blanc is not the easiest, yet not the most difficult climb either. You need to start your journey from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, in eastern France. There are three options for you to reach the mountain, including train, airplane, and road. If you want to take a flight, you are to fly to the Geneva International Airport, situated in Switzerland, and move towards Chamonix-Mont Blanc by taxi. Likewise, you can reach Chamonix from St. Gervais-le Fayet (France) or Martigny (Switzerland). If you want to travel by road to the mountain, you can start in France via the Autoroute Blanche (A40), and if you start from Italy, then via the Mont Blanc tunnel. If you start from Switzerland, you should move via the Col des Montets.

The climbing routes of Mont Blanc include The Gouter Route, The 3 Monts Route, and a few more routes that usually start from Italy. The Gouter Route is the classic and the most popular route among all the others. You will start at Les Houches, be transferred to the Nid d’Aigle (2,372 m) from a cable car, and finally head towards the mountain railway. One can also start from Saint Gervais. You are likely to spend a night at the Gouter hut (3,815 m). Since the climb is going to be fairly technical, you need to get ropes, harnesses, crampons, and poles ready to ascend the glaciated and snowy trails of the Mont Blanc from the hut.

The 3 Monts Route is the most demanding among all the other routes, which is also a reason why climbers tend to climb from the Gouter Route instead. This route is known as the Three Monts because of the three peaks it touches, namely, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, and Mont Blanc. You will start your way from Chamonix and get in the first cable car you can find in the morning. The ascent will start from here on. The night is likely to be spent at the Cosmiques Hut (3,613 m). However, it is only possible to opt for this route if the morning is pleasant and there are no barriers in relation to the weather and the cold.

Tour du Mont Blanc Route Map

tour du mont blanc

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Mont Blanc: Highest Peak In The Alps And Western Europe

How much does it cost to climb Mont Blanc with a guide?

You are likely to pay an estimated amount of €990 on average. Your cost will include the Tramway fee, Aiguille du Midi lift, Accommodation cost at the Cosmiques hut or the Gouter hut, Other transfers, Equipment rentals, and Mountain guide’s expenses.

What are Mont Blanc’s acclimatization points?

The acclimatization points of Mont Blanc are Aiguille d’Entreves (3,604 m), Gran Paradiso (4,061 m) and Aiguille du Tour (3,540 m).

How do you prepare to climb Mont Blanc?

One should have a basic level of fitness, experience with altitude climbing, mountaineering skills, sleep, hydration, necessary equipment, and a well-acclimatized body in order to climb Mont Blanc.

What to do when around Mont Blanc?

Mont Blanc is perfect for mountaineering, hiking, skiing, and similar adventure sports.

What is the best time to climb Mont Blanc?

The best time to climb Mont Blanc is between June and September when the temperature is between 20° at Nid d’Aigle and -20 ° at the summit.

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