Ascent of Mont Blanc on 1949-09-01
|Others in Party:||Murray Brush|
Josef Biner (Zermatt guide)
Andre ___ (Chamonix guide)
|Date:||Thursday, September 1, 1949|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Tram|
| Elevation:||15781 ft / 4810 m|
Ascent Trip ReportClimbing Mont Blanc, the “Roof of the Alps,” was the culmination of a monthlong visit to Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland and Pennine Alps, highlighted by climbs of a dozen 4000-m peaks. Murray, Josef, and I took the train from Zermatt to Chamonix on August 27. We hoped to start for Mont Blanc the next day, but unsettled weather dictated otherwise. However, we were active at the lower elevations climbing on the Clochetons, and on the 30th we had a fine day traversing the Petits Charmoz (2867m) between Col d’Etala (2786m) and Col de la Buche (2785m), followed by the short climbs of the Aiguille de l’M (2844m) and its SW summit, Pointe Albert (2816m). On the 31st, despite “iffy” weather, we started for Mont Blanc, accompanied by Chamonix guide Andre ____. From Les Houches below Chamonix, we took the telepherique to Bellevue (1790m), then the tram to the Nid d’Aigle (2386m) before starting the hike up to the popular Tete Rousse Hut (3187m). After lunch here we continued up through Le Grand Couloir (3270m)--prone to rockfall--to the Goûter Hut(3817m)for the overnight.
A strong, cold wind was blowing when we left the Goûter Hut at 5:30AM. The sun rose encouragingly, though in a cloudy sky, as we approached the Dôme de Goûter (4340m), but soon disappeared in cloud. We descended to the Col du Dôme (4240m), then resumed the upward climb to the untidy,small Refuge Vallot (4362m). Placed here primarily for emergencies, this metal survival box has been a life-saver many times in bad weather. We huddled inside in freezing temperature to break from the wind and enjoy a hot drink. From the Vallot Hut to the summit we were in virtual white-out conditions. Without our guide Andre we couldn’t possibly have found the way despite the faint tracks. We proceeded up to the summit ridge over the two humps of the Grande Bosse (4513m) and the Petite Bosse (4547m), then along a sharp snow ridge past the rocks of La Tournette (4677m). In another 100 meters or so, Andre announced we were at the top–9:15AM–we would never have known it, socked in as we were. There was nothing to entice us to stand around in the wind and fog on our lofty summit ; so we were soon trudging downhill to the Grand Mulets Hut (3051m), where we relaxed and enjoyed a leisurely lunch before going over to Le Glacier telepherique station for the quick ride down to the
more mundane life of Chamoniz.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||12546 ft / 3824 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||12402 ft / 3780 m|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb|
| Gear Used:||Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Hut Camp|
| Weather:||Cold, Very Windy, White-out|
| Gain on way in:||12546 ft / 3824 m|
| Route:||Dome du Gouter|
| Start Trailhead:||Les Houches 3235 ft / 986 m|
| Loss on way out:||12402 ft / 3780 m|
| Route:||Grands Mulets|
| End Trailhead:||Chamonix 3379 ft / 1029 m|
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