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Mont Blanc Ascent, August 2002

By Griffin Golamco


Griffin Golamco chilling out on top of Western Europe

Highest Mountain in Western Europe  At 4,808 meters (15,771 feet), Mt. Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, as well as the highest point in Europe west of the Caucuses.  The mountain forms a border with France, Switzerland and Italy.  Join our global correspondent Griffin Golamco as he sets out to bag Europe's prize peak. 

The Route - 2 Days of Climbing

3,959m (12,986 ft.) Ascent

1,776m (5,825 ft.) Descent

Mont Blanc presents a steep and mighty face of rock and ice, some 11,000 vertical feet in Italy and a less steep but even higher 12,500 ice-draped flank to France.   There are any number of routes that one can take to the summit.  The easiest and most popular is to start in the French town of Chamonix and ride a cable car to the Aiguille du Midi - a chalet-style station resting at 3,842m (12,602 ft.) with restaurants and viewing platforms.  This route cuts out over 2,000m (6,560 ft.) of climbing and puts you directly onto the glaciers surrounding Mt. Blanc.  From here, there are dozens of challenging one- or two-day climbs that can be attempted, including a recommended two-day there-and-back summit of Mt. Blanc.

However, I was climbing with my brother-in-law, Sebastian, and of course we decided that we didn't want to take the "easiest" route, nor did we want to do a simple there-and-back route.  Instead, we decided to park our car in Chamonix and take a bus to the small Italian town of Cantine de la Visaille.  From there, we would attempt a traverse of the massif -- climbing to the summit and then descending via the Aiguille du Midi route back to our car in Chamonix.

Click here for a detailed map of our route (warning:  this is a large file.  Not recommended for dial-up).

Click on the link below to see the photos.


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