Climbing Mont Blanc

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
Hi guys,

I've just got a quick question, has anyone summited Mont Blanc before as I'm hopefully going to be attempting it in August. I'm a complete novice at climbing however you do get 4 days training prior to the attempt and you are quickly taught ice climbing techniques as well as crampon, ice axe use etc.

I was just wondering if there were any avid climbers out there who could give me any tips on extra equipment that they found useful etc just as I know it's going to be a challenging ascent and I want to give myself the best chance at reaching the top. The guides are very knowledgable and they have provided kit lists etc but it's always useful to hear what other people may suggest to take which they found useful.

Many thanks,
ECRFC
 

CSVern

Veteran Contributor
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Posts
712
Reaction score
428
The guides are top notch over in Cham so if they've given you a kit list, you won't need much else. It'll get you up and down, most else is personal preference.
If they're not on the list, you'll want to take ear plugs for sure. I guess you'll be in one of the refuges and sharing a room with 20 snoring Germans isn't the best of times when getting you're getting up at 3am :)

I haven't seen your kit list so don't know what else I could add. Wet wipes if you want a man wash. Sewing kit, if you haven't used crampons before you'll most likely catch them on your trousers a couple times. If the guide doesn't need you to wear a helmet, take a sun cap as well as sunglasses and sun cream.
If you take chocolate as a snack, keep it in a jacket pocket. Found my mars bar had frozen solid and was a bugger to eat after being in my bag.
I'm sure there are other things, I'll make a note and if I think of anything else I'll PM you.
 
Last edited:

Mr D

Venerated Contributor
Joined
Jun 28, 2013
Posts
2,528
Reaction score
2,826
@Chelonian , this could be the man your looking for,think he's a climber. he 'll find you soon.
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
The guides are top notch over in Cham so if they've given you a kit list, you won't need much else. It'll get you up and down, most else is personal preference.
If they're not on the list, you'll want to take ear plugs for sure. I guess you'll be in one of the refuges and sharing a room with 20 snoring Germans isn't the best of times when getting you're getting up at 3am :)

I haven't seen your kit list so don't know what else I could add. Wet wipes if you want a man wash. Sewing kit, if you haven't used crampons before you'll most likely catch them on your trousers a couple times. If the guide doesn't need you to wear a helmet, take a sun cap as well as sunglasses and sun cream.
If you take chocolate as a snack, keep it in a jacket pocket. Found my mars bar had frozen solid and was a bugger to eat after being in my bag.
I'm sure there are other things, I'll make a note and if I think of anything else I'll PM you.

Thanks for the heads up about the ear plugs hadn't thought of that and yes that would be fantastic if you did have any more ideas then I'd be really great full. :)

Read a lot of reviews and they all seem really experienced and very approachable and they're allowing me to do it unaccompanied as a 17 year old which is great.
 

corvus

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Posts
361
Reaction score
320
Make sure you get a proper set of goggles or sunglasses (preferably with side shields to reduce glare getting past the frame - if not then make sure a wraparound style really does fit your face, including where the frames sit on your cheeks).
You NEED category 4 sunglasses, dont get bloc, cebé/julbo/adidas or bolle are all good brands to start looking at. I think the cheapest pair of quality cat 4 sunglasses would be the Julbo Colorado or Tensing models, both with the spectron 4 lens.

Oakley dont make cat 4 sunglasses, don't believe the sales assistant when they try to push them on you.
Why do you need cat 4 sunglasses? The sun is so unbelievably bright especially when reflecting off the snow and bouncing at you from all angles. I have a spot in the middle of my right eye that affects my vision due to not wearing dark enough sunglasses in Nepal a few years back, it will never go and will only get worse if not looked after.

Have you been to altitude before? Have you spent any long days in the hills with a pack? Be bold, start cold - you'll soon warm up so set off in a baselayer and possibly a wind/waterproof over if its blowy.

The tip above about earplugs is well worth listening to. Jelly babies dont freeze.
What route are you planning on taking up?
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
Make sure you get a proper set of goggles or sunglasses (preferably with side shields to reduce glare getting past the frame - if not then make sure a wraparound style really does fit your face, including where the frames sit on your cheeks).
You NEED category 4 sunglasses, dont get bloc, cebé/julbo/adidas or bolle are all good brands to start looking at. I think the cheapest pair of quality cat 4 sunglasses would be the Julbo Colorado or Tensing models, both with the spectron 4 lens.

Oakley dont make cat 4 sunglasses, don't believe the sales assistant when they try to push them on you.
Why do you need cat 4 sunglasses? The sun is so unbelievably bright especially when reflecting off the snow and bouncing at you from all angles. I have a spot in the middle of my right eye that affects my vision due to not wearing dark enough sunglasses in Nepal a few years back, it will never go and will only get worse if not looked after.

Have you been to altitude before? Have you spent any long days in the hills with a pack? Be bold, start cold - you'll soon warm up so set off in a baselayer and possibly a wind/waterproof over if its blowy.

The tip above about earplugs is well worth listening to. Jelly babies dont freeze.
What route are you planning on taking up?

Thanks for the advice and I believe they do it on how fit you are and whether you want to push yourself up the blue route which is the Aguille de Midi which I believe is shorter but very tough or use the Gouter route which is longer but less demanding.

They'll be confirming which route soon as it depends what guide you're paired with and who is your climbing partner as its done in pairs.

Moreover, I'm a frequent skier so I've spent quite a fair bit of time at altitude and have skied from the bottom of mont blanc down to Chamonix which was fantastic. However, I've never done any explicit hill walking at altitude but I know I don't have a problem at sleeping around 2800m - 3000m so I'm hoping I should acclimatise fairly quickly but you never know.
 

corvus

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Posts
361
Reaction score
320
Bear in mind that summitting is not a certainty, it doesn't matter if you're fit, prepared and acclimatizing well, storms can roll in and can dump a massive amount of fresh snow, windslab (a very dangerous form of snow consolidation, probably the biggest cause of avalanches and fatalities) can form which might put the whole route choice out of the question forcing you to descend back to the valley.

There's a saying in mountaineering - the mountain doesn't care (about you - your goals - your loved ones back at home). They can really make you feel small and helpless, especially in frightening weather conditions.
And another one which is;
The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too.

You might think i'm being overly negative, i'm not I wish you the best of luck and hope you get to experience some of the scenery, exhilaration and happiness that being in the outdoors and mountaineering can bring you, but you only get to KEEP doing that by exercising caution and awareness.
 

corvus

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Posts
361
Reaction score
320
Also dont do this:
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
Bear in mind that summitting is not a certainty, it doesn't matter if you're fit, prepared and acclimatizing well, storms can roll in and can dump a massive amount of fresh snow, windslab (a very dangerous form of snow consolidation, probably the biggest cause of avalanches and fatalities) can form which might put the whole route choice out of the question forcing you to descend back to the valley.

There's a saying in mountaineering - the mountain doesn't care (about you - your goals - your loved ones back at home). They can really make you feel small and helpless, especially in frightening weather conditions.
And another one which is;
The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too.

You might think i'm being overly negative, i'm not I wish you the best of luck and hope you get to experience some of the scenery, exhilaration and happiness that being in the outdoors and mountaineering can bring you, but you only get to KEEP doing that by exercising caution and awareness.

Mountains are dangerous places and they do explain very explicitly they around 30-40% of the ascents have to be called off due to weather but I'm keeping my fingers crossed but I won't let it get to me if the ascent has to be abandoned.

Just invested in a Hero4 silver GoPro so I can save all the memories as I know it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Thanks for all the advice and I'll make sure I take it all on board.
 

"Sandy"

Venerated Contributor
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Posts
1,598
Reaction score
709
Mt Blanc isn't a very technical climb and only has 4 points which include ropes I think mate, the instructors will have you in the best hands just make sure you've got good gear and don't risk anything for the sake of a few likes on a picture! Good luck!
 

Chelonian

Moderator
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Posts
11,076
Reaction score
13,495
I was just wondering if there were any avid climbers out there who could give me any tips on extra equipment that they found useful etc...

As others have alluded to, don't underestimate the sunlight. Sunblock—particularly if it is in a handy lip salve stick format—will help prevent having to grow a new nose. Also important is hydration. Fluid loss at higher, drier altitudes can be rapid. It is important to be disciplined about maintaining an adequate fluid intake. Dehydration is not always associated with a sense of thirst. Good luck.
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
As others have alluded to, don't underestimate the sunlight. Sunblock—particularly if it is in a handy lip salve stick format—will help prevent having to grow a new nose. Also important is hydration. Fluid loss at higher, drier altitudes can be rapid. It is important to be disciplined about maintaining an adequate fluid intake. Dehydration is not always associated with a sense of thirst. Good luck.
Mt Blanc isn't a very technical climb and only has 4 points which include ropes I think mate, the instructors will have you in the best hands just make sure you've got good gear and don't risk anything for the sake of a few likes on a picture! Good luck!

Cheers guys for the advice it's really appreciated!

@"Sandy" if you don't mind me asking what other mountains have you summited as if I enjoy it I may have an attempt at a few more technical ones later on in the year.
 

Carper94

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Sep 13, 2012
Posts
47
Reaction score
24
Me and sandy have summited Ben Nevis, scafell pike and snowdon, hardcore eh ;)
 

MikeD247

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Posts
99
Reaction score
44
I completed the 24 hour 3 peaks challenge a few weeks ago and it was brilliant. Was thinking of doing this at some point in the future...let me know how you get on mate!
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
Booked to climb this on the 17th August so I'll let you guys know how it goes ;)
 

oscar93

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Posts
121
Reaction score
2
Jealous!!

The Guides will try to avoid stopping too much, so drink whenever you can/ take a camelback.

Poco loco (near Snell sports) in the centre of cham does some awesome burgers. Try the special poco loco :)

Enjoy
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
Jealous!!

The Guides will try to avoid stopping too much, so drink whenever you can/ take a camelback.

Poco loco (near Snell sports) in the centre of cham does some awesome burgers. Try the special poco loco :)

Enjoy

Thanks for the tip and I've just rafted and hiked down the Grand Canyon so I know how important hydration is as we had a few cases of severe dehydration with one guy almost having to get a casevac out.

Hahah I'll give it a try. I'm a bit of a burger fan so I think I'm going to have to make a stop there. ;)
 

ERFC

Royal Marines Commando
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
887
Reaction score
532
Just wondered if anyone could recommend me some good sunglasses to purchase which I can hopefully use on future climbs. I'm looking for a decent pair which will also protect the sides of the eyes to stop the glare getting around the glasses. I'm beginning to get everything sorted now and I want to make sure I've tested all my kit before I leave.
 
Similar threads



New Threads

Top