5th and 6th July Mon and Tuesday rest day then a TMB reccie Col De Montets to Chamonix

I didn’t do much on Monday. Just rested after the last 2 days exertions and tried to get some advice from friends as to whether to have a go at an ascent of Mont Blanc. After all the kind advice I have come to the conclusion that although I am physically fit to do it (or at least I think I am), I don’t have enough experience of high mountains, especially dangers like soft or very hard snow, rock falls, and crevasses. The ascent in one effort up and down, I think would have to come after the experience of ascending the traditional way. That is to ascend to a hut then overnight and set off early in the morning when the mountain conditions are more stable. I read a guide book, lent to me by a fellow camper, it suggested that Mont Blanc should not be "your first high peak". I am know coming to terms with that advice. I may still (just to get an idea of how tough it would be) set off from Les Houches at 07:30 with my only goal being that of reaching the Gouter hut a 2,850meter ascent I think I can do it with high mountain gear, i.e a fairly heavy pack, in about 5 ½ hours. I may see if I’m right when the forecast is good. That probably means Sunday at the earliest.
Today I got the free bus to Col De Montets and ran back over the Tour Du Mont Blanc trail. The route goes via La Tete au Vente and La Flagere. At La Flagere I spotted an Chamois eating its lunch. Once it realised I posed no threat it carried on eating, barely lifting its head for me to photograph it, how inconsiderate! Not wanting to disturb it too much from its lunch I carried on. Running the from Col De Montets to La Flagere in the light, in fell shoes, was much easier than the last time I did it 2 years ago in the TMB on legs that had done 94 miles and in the dark, with squashed trail shoes. I have run down from La Flagere several times. So this time I decided to see how quick I could do the full TMB route down including the loop in Chamonix. I managed it in 42 minutes. The run took 2 hours 10 minutes with a few photo calls. If only I could do it that quick in 7 weeks’ time at the end of the TMB; no chance.

1 comment:

John Fleetwood said...

hi alan

I came across your blog and thought I should comment as I've been up Mont Blanc. For what's its worth I'd think seriously before attempting this. I'm an experienced alpinist having ascended over 20 of the 4000ers, some of them being quite technical routes and I'd think twice before soloing it due to the crevasse danger. Yes, there's a big trail, but it doesn't mean you won't be the one in a 1000 who falls in a crevasse. also the crossing of the couloir to the gouter hut is horribly dangerous from stonefall - its not a nice route. the other major issue is acclimatisation. you really feel it at that height, and I'd want to have gone up to about 4000m before attempting it, or it could be a horrible experience of feeling sick and lightheaded.

having said all this, you might be fine, and the likelihood is that you'll just plod up and down without any problems, although you do need an ice axe to stop a slip and don't go if there's any likelihood of a storm. enjoy whatever you do and hope the TMB goes well. what a privilege to have a few months in the alps!


John Fleetwood