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Mnet - Monte Bianco - phototitolo
sinistra
Mont Blanc 4810 m
text and photos by Francesco Tremolada

Mont Blanc, rising majestically over the Chamonix valley, is the symbol of the Alps; its summit can be reached by following an outstanding ski mountaineering itenery for two days via the 'normal' French route along the North Face.

Getting there
From Chamonix take the Aguille de Midi cable car to the Plan de l'Aguille middle station.

Best time of year
April to the end of June, although optimum conditions can also often be found in early July.

ASCENT
Orientation
: North facing
Height difference: 800m + 1750m
Time required: 3,30 + 6-8 hours
Difficulty: ***
Gear: ice axe and crampons, rope and harness

Ascent details
Start by ascending the morraine for roughly 100m towards l'Aguille de Midi, then gain height slightly by crossing the Pelerins glacier underneath the imposing North Face of the Aguille. Beware of falling debris in warmer periods - traverse a bit lower down in this case. Reach the big ridge and cross the Glacier des Bossons to rech la Jonction. As the name suggests, two seperate glaciers converge here so the crevasses can at times be difficult to cross. Choosing the best route is difficult, but usually it is possible to follow the tracks left behind by previous parties. Arrive at the Grands Mulets refuge by first ascending the steep slope beneath it and then by climbing up the Via Ferrata which begins at the highest point of the base of cliff.

Leave the Rifugio in the middle of the night and, with headtorches on, reach the first ridge by heading SSW towards the crevasses crushed between the Grands Mulets on the left and the western crest of the Dome du Goutier on the right. Arrive at Petit Plateau by ascending the steep slope of Petites Montée - the route leads through the crevasses and varies in complexity depending on the snow cover. Huge ice blocks have been falling from the serraced Gouter Crest over the last couple of years and, although spectacular, they are nevertheless extremely dangerous. Next go up the Grand Montèes slope to the Grand Plateau glacial bowl (4000m) from which, in clear conditions, the summit of Mont Blanc is visible.

Continue rightwards to the large hollow of the Col du Dome and, after having passed the peak of the Dome du Goutier on the right, reach the Vallot refuge/bivoac at 4362m. The skis are best left here or slightly higher up before proceeding with crampons along the Bosse Crest. An obvious route leads on up to the summit, but be particularly careful at exposed sections and hard, compact snow.

 Mont Blanc Map

DESCENT
Orientation
: North
Height difference: 2500 m
Difficulty: ***

Descent details
Descend via the ascent route to the skis at the Vallot refuge/bivoac. In good conditions it is possible to ski directly from the summit down the beautiful North Face to the Grand Plateau.
The max 40º slope crosses serracs and almost always has an obligatory jump at the end.



Mont Blanc

Crossing the Pelerins glacier
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