I've been thinking about climbing Mont Blanc for several years now but I have not done much about it. The World is full of 'armchair warriors' and people who 'talk the talk' but don't (or can't) 'walk the walk' and I definitely don't want to be one of them.

In my younger years (through to my 20s) I was a total pussy; shy, introverted, extremely insecure and totally lacking in confidence. I don't know why; too sheltered an upbringing? A lack of physical prowess? A late developer? Or maybe I just hadn't come out of my shell at that time. Things have changed somewhat now. I've shed a skin (or two) over the years. I've seen enough of Human behaviour through all levels of Society to realise that absolutely no-one is perfect and despite how it may appear from the outside, EVERYONE has their fears, insecurities and hang-ups. I also know that no-one has the right to judge me but myself. I believe that no-one is 'better' than me. That's not arrogance; it's just a recognition of the fact that we - Human Beings - are essentially all the same. It's not complacency either; I recognise that I personally can improve myself and get better and I try to do so in little ways every day (sometimes I'm not too successful! But I keep trying).

One of the things I pride myself on is that if I say I am going to do something (even to myself), I do it. the issue of Mont Blanc...... It's on!

November 2018

At long last I've done something about it rather than just mulling over the idea in my mind. I've booked via a company called Icicle (Go to Icicle Website). They've been doing this for a while and use local guides who know the weather and the risks involved. I went to see them at their UK base in Windemere and spoke to the main man, Kingsley Jones, who talked me through the course and the levels of fitness required for a safe and enjoyable ascent (and hopefully decsent as well! Many accidents occur on the decsent due to tiredness and complacency). Kingsley seemed a thoroughly nice guy and despite his own climbing achievements, didn't come across as patronising or self-important. I immediately felt that I'd chosen the right company to do this through despite the massive number of companies, both in the UK and in Chamonix itself, who are in this marketplace.

August is mid-season and fits in well with my other commitments as well as giving me a few months to hopefully get back to the level of fitness needed to minimise the risks and maximise the chances of a successful summit.

The History of Mont Blanc

Technically not a difficult climb but still the highest mountain in Europe at 4,808.7 metres (15,777 ft), Ranked the 11th highest in the World and it is one of the most deadly in the World and has the most fatalities annually in Europe. (There's an interesting article here from an American climbing perspective on why Mont Blanc is so dangerous). It needs to be taken seriously and although inexperienced climbers have successfully summitted, there have been other instances where very experienced climbers and guides have been swept to their deaths by avalanches and rockfall. Ice axes and crampons are needed for phases of the climb and athough it isn't exactly Everest, there will always be substantial risks involved in getting yourself to the top of a lump of snow and ice-covered granite which stands at nearly 16,000 feet. The ground under your feet, the weather, how you react to the lack of Oxygen in the air above 10,000 feet (Altitude sickness), rockfall, crevasses and even the people you are climbing with are all variables - any of which can result in a failure to summit. Icicle give no guarantees of a summit as they can't control the weather and the conditions on the mountain can change rapidly.

There are a number of routes to the Mont Blanc summit. TheGouter Route is one of the more popular but the actual route taken will be chosen dependent upon the weather at the time.

The course is booked, the flight to Geneva is booked and the accomodation in Chamonix together with Hut passes is all sorted by Icicle. All I have to do is get all my kit together and get myself fit enough to be able to get up there. Easy (not!!)

More to follow....




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