Magnifique sommet du Mont Blanc pour les jumeaux français.
There are Chamonix Aiguilles (needles) and Chamonix Aiguilles. This is one of the latter, as sharp and pointy as a 700 m rock spire can be. The thought of the pioneers lassoing the summit and hand over handing up a hemp rope still makes my palms sweaty. The exposure levels on the summit kept me straddling the blade of rock – one leg either side. We climbed the modern magnificent political crack route named Republique Bananiere that the maestro Piola rated in his top ten Mont Blanc Massif granite routes. ED 6C and 700 m of magic including a 50 m dihedral.
The left edge of the triangle on Mont Blanc du Tacul offers a very aesthetic snow and mixed climb with spectacular views across to the mighty Dent de Geant. The route is objectively safe, avoiding the seracs on the void normal and offers and more interesting and exciting way of getting to the summit. It’s also a good ski line in May and June. This time I was out climbing with my good friend Minna and acclimatising for the summer guiding season.
Mont Blanc summit and ski guiding trip. This was Mont Blanc the historic way, the pure way, human powered from the valley floor from my house (ancienne Maison Balmat) -which is where Jacques Balmat lived at the time when he made the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786! On the first day we made the approach to the Grands Mulets refuge by the Gare des Glaciers and enjoyed a massive feed and relaxing stay with the friendly atmosphere. We left at 5 am the next morning after a hearty breakfast of fresh bread, jam, and coffee and enjoyed skinning under an incredible blood super moon. Soon the dawn light revealed the magnificent high alpine scenery of tumbling glacier ice and painted the iconic peaks red, distracting our minds from skinning.
It was a gorgeous warm day for being on the top of Western Europe, around -10/15C up there and 15 k winds.
We skied down a little wind hardened snow on the shoulder before finding powder down the North Face for 2000 m to the jonction of the Taconnaz and Bossons Glaciers. There we roped up to cross the slots on the Bossons and went back to Gare des Glaciers where the final prize was a long corn run down the para face. A short walk back to the car at the tunnel and it was beer time 🍻..
I am psyched to have another ski trip there at the start of June and the way this spring (May and June are spring in Chamonix) is shaping up with snow almost every day for the last 3 weeks, a mid-summer Mont Blanc might be on the cards!