/ Mont Blanc

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Tezbully - on 08 Feb 2014
I am looking for a new challenge for my 40th birthday (2016) as you can see I have just over two years to prepare for the mammoth task for a new-be,I am doing the three peaks challenge this year and started the training by climbing Snowdon in minus 5 conditions and to be honest would not have had it any other way so I have two questions.
1. Has anybody in these forums done or know anybody that has done mont Blanc and can give me any ideas for training or links to complete training?
2. Does anybody know any good companies to get to the summit and back?
altirando - on 08 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Much more fun to climb it with a mate than to be dragged up on the back end of a rope by a guide. But do try lower summits first.
Tezbully - on 08 Feb 2014
In reply to altirando:

I take that you have done mont blanc then? Did you use a company or guide?
highclimber - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

The only advice I will give is don't set your heart on summiting. Many things out of your control will ultimately decide if you summit or not.
NiceUsername - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to highclimber:

I think that could be said about all mountain peaks. The key is to stay positive, and hope for good conditions.
Tezbully - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to highclimber:

Not reaching the summit is not on the to do list this is why I am wondering if reaching the summit is somthing that can be done with out the use of a guide I'm thinking instead of booking and paying for a guide,maybe stop in the area for two weeks and try to reach the summit myself ( given the right training ) which takes me back to the original question.
Tezbully - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to NiceUsername:

I've been very positive to be honest,before I did Snowdon every weather report give servere weather warnings and on the day,yes it was cold but I was not cold due to the correct clothing however I know it's only Snowdon and a small summit but the sense of achievement I took from it was immense, the only thing that done my head in was that my other passion is photography and on that day in them conditions I could see a thing!!! :(
highclimber - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Even with a guide, the summit is not guaranteed. Two weeks will give you a good weather window. I don't think a guide will give you a guarantee of reaching the summit, regardless of the occasion and any that do should be avoided!
Tezbully - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to highclimber:

Thanks mate,I can do three weeks in the area I just don't want to travel all that way and not summit,I'm very new to all this,do you know of any climbing clubs or training providers in the midlands?
A Longleat Boulderer - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to altirando:
> Much more fun to climb it with a mate than to be dragged up on the back end of a rope by a guide. But do try lower summits first.

I went up with a guide (was 17 at the time) and wouldn't recommend it unless you're bloody fit. Our guide had just got back from new routing on Everest (didn't summit, just wanted the route!) and monstered up the mountain. We were overtaking teams all over the place and did it from Cham to Cham in 12.5 hours- we were f*cking destroyed afterwards.

EDIT: training wise, I just followed a marathon training routine for the eight months prior to the ascent.
Post edited at 15:29
highclimber - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

No worries, I've been twice to climb MB and twice failed due to weather/illness. Sh1t happens so you've to go there with the expectation you might not make it to the summit. Having a decent amount of time out there will increase your odds (and your fitness).

> do you know of any climbing clubs or training providers in the midlands?

Have a look on the BMC website. they have links to all the mountaineering clubs that are affiliated to them (which is most of them)
Orgsm on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

What are your reasons for wanting to climb Mt Blanc other than it being the highest in Western Europe? Plenty of lower peaks that you can often have , if not to yourself, just a select few.
Tezbully - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to Orgsm:

Well two reasons to be honest,one of which you mentioned are the other is that it's the most affordable for me,Everest I can not find a decent price on it,also I would need to have 2 or 3 months of work to complete
Mark / Alps - on 09 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Jagged Globe, Icicle and ISM are all top notch. I'm sure others are too. You could hire a guide - I would recommend a British Guide. Eg; Smiler Cuthbertson, Bruce Goodlad or Martin Moran.
Another alternative could be to join a local mountaineering club whose members regularly go to the alps.
However, given that you are looking at a two year preparation there is time to gather some like minded people, learn and develop the knowledge and skills to climb Mont Blanc independently. Much more satisfying in my opinion. This can be through courses, a local club or can even be self taught ( with appropriate caution ). Excellent books and videos around, time to learn and practice the skills in the UK, perhaps learn with some mates and get some informal training from other experienced alpinists. The BMC Essential Alpine Skills DVD is a good place to start. As is Bruce Goodlad's book Alpine Mountaineering'.
Get scrambling, long hillwalking days, several days in a row will soon develop fitness. You have time to develop crampon / ice axe skills in winter conditions in Lakes, Wales, Scotland. You could do some smaller alpine peaks the year before the big one.
Personally I suggest learning the skills and knowledge so your 40th birthday challenge is all the sweeter!
...and yes, I have climbed MB by several different routes over the years and never with a guide.

Have fun with whatever you decide...
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Mark / Alps:

Mark your a legend cheers mate,that's the kind of answer I was looking for! On it like a tramp on chips...
Many thanks.......
Nath - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Where abouts in the Midlands are you?
Lesdavmor - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

I did this with a mate last June, we did 3 days acclimitisation, Albert premier, Torino then up to the Tete Rousse hoping to summit from there but had to do it the following day fron the ( old) Gouter.
Previously I did aerobic training( at sea level)for 3 weeks, but stopping training 10 days before. Getting the pace correct for the summit push is essential. The 2 of us totalled 118 years of age
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Nath:

Shirley,Birmingham
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Lesdavmor:
The birthday is in June I was thinking around the 21st as that is the longest day,what was the weather like at the summit (apart from being cold )?
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Also it's an open invitation,the more the merrier that will keep costs down a bit and I'm always up for doing it for a charity,even if I or we raise £1000 it might buy someone a wheel chair or anything to ease the daily struggle to get from A to B...........
Jump on board.....
Let's do this!!!!!!
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In reply to Tezbully:

Hi Tezbully,

I don't know if you have seen the UKC article covering the two easiest routes up Mont Blanc, I think it will have a lot of useful information in if you haven't already seen it.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5784

Good luck with your climb.

Jack
Lesdavmor - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

We summitted on the 19th, the previous day was horribly windy & dangerous, we got knocked flat just outside the Gouter hut.. It was probably about -15oC at 0300 hrs but +18oC by the Bellevarde. Layer up well!
thomaspomfrett on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Although I've not done Mont Blanc myself, I've spent a fair bit of time in the alps climbing and have a number of friends that have done it. Nearly all of them say the same thing... it's just a slog, not very interesting and very, very overcrowded. There are so many much more interesting routes in the alps that you could consider.

If you really have your heart set on Mont Blanc then I'd recommend Jagged Globe. I've done a couple of courses with them when I was learning and they were always good. They do (or at least did back then) a Mont Blanc extension on a lot of their alpine courses which means you can learn the basics of mountaineering over a week (e.g. crevasse rescue, ice axe arrest etc), get a few summits done, then finish the week with a few days to try and summit Mont Blanc (weather permitting). I think this is a good way to do it as you become competent yourself rather than being dragged behind a guide for 12 hours having never seen a pair of crampons before.
GridNorth - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

IMO unless you are hiring a guide as essentially a belay bunny using one defeats the object somewhat or at least lessens the achievment considerably.
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

Big thankyou jack,I hadn't seen that artical on the two routes to be honest,it is a great read and put together very well,and a great moral booster,just what I needed.

Many thanks....
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

Sorry new to all this IMO ???????..
In reply to Tezbully:

Great! Hope to see you up there on the summit! ;-)

Jack
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to thomaspomfrett:

Thomas that's great info mate,to be honest the thought of being dragged up a mountain by a guide doesn't Apeal to me.

Many thanks

Tez
Tezbully - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

Standby for plenty of pics!!! (well in two years)

Tez
GridNorth - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

> Sorry new to all this IMO ???????..

In my opinion. At least I think that's what it means.
Enty - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Orgsm:

> What are your reasons for wanting to climb Mt Blanc other than it being the highest in Western Europe?

Every time there's a Mont Blanc thread on here someone asks this question. I'm not saying you are but it's usually made out to sound that there's something wrong with this being a good enough reason to climb it.

E

Tony the Blade on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

I've emailed you :-)
Tezbully - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to GridNorth:
IMO
Just had one of them slap your own forehead moments.........
Tezbully - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Yes mr Blade.....
We shall converse via email........
Cheese Monkey - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

This is what I would do-
Get fit
Go on an ISM course this year - this one would be good for you I think - http://www.alpin-ism.com/courses/summermountaineering/alpineintro.cfm On same trip maybe hire a guide to do some basic peaks after course

Meet people - through club or from your ISM course or whatever. Get out on easy mountain routes in UK to practice rope work and such as much as possible.

2015 go and do some lower easier peaks in Alps

2016 go for Mt Blanc

Tezbully - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

Cheers Cheese Monkey,just had a quick look,that looks awesome mate,definatly worth considering....

Thanks
Tez....
Rog Wilko on 13 Feb 2014
According to people I know who are guides and run courses many of their clients these days aren't people who want to take up alpinism in any way - they just want to tick Mont Blanc and thereby gain some (very limited) bragging rights. By your own admission I think you may fall into this category, though perhaps I've misinterpreted your comments. Not that there's anything wrong with being in that category, it's just that if you are you will have a different "trajectory" to the summit than if you are seeing it as part of a prolonged career in alpinism. If you are in the former category you don't need two year's preparation; you just need to be as physically fit as you can be when you arrive in the Alps - plenty of endurance walking, running and cycling over a period of months. If however you see yourself as becoming a fully (or even partially) fledged mountaineer then you will need, in my opinion, quite a lot longer apprenticeship if you are to form an equal part of a pair or larger group of climbers tackling MB under their own steam (i.e. without a guide), rather than just being the person who tags along and does as they're told. Why would anyone want to take you on such a basis if not being paid? Climbing Snowdon on a grotty day isn't really much preparation.
I suppose what I'm really saying is that if you aren't of the category I described first, then you would be better advised to join a climbing club, learn the ropes (and the other things), do some winter mountaineering in
Scotland, learn some rock climbing skills, learn navigation skills and work your way slowly into alpinism. Then for your first Alpine season be satisfied with doing half a dozen climbs of an easy technical and physical nature on mountains you haven't heard of but which will still be a challenge. Then you might set your sights on Mont Blanc "sans guide" which you'll then find much more satisfying, if for no other reason than that you won't have to do the Gouter route. I hope you won't find my comments in any way offensive or discouraging, as I am simply offering an opinion.
Tezbully - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to Rog Wilko:
Hi Rog Wilko
Well can I just say that I don't find any of your comments offensive or discouridging in any way,infact very helpful as you have answered both of my questions,1 about the sort of training I should be doing (ie Scotland and climbing clubs) 2 I see by your profile you have climbed MB,so I would just like to thanks,you started with According to people you know who are guides,Do you have any contact details?
If I'm honest until I climbed Snowdon this year I never thought I would see myself at the top of a mountain and as with most things if life until you try it you never know if your going to like it,well let me tell you this,climbing Snowdon in your words a " grotty day " met office words "severe warnings" was awesome as I have never experienced weather like that in my life and in my line of work I battle the elements everyday.
Well thankyou for taken the time to share some good advice.

Many thanks

Tez...
Post edited at 22:08
Rog Wilko on 14 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

I've emailed you.
mysterion on 16 Feb 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

> Not reaching the summit is not on the to do list

Nobody seems to have pointed this out but this is pretty much the wrong attitude to take. You need to be able to turn back without beating yourself up about it.
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highclimber - on 16 Feb 2014
In reply to mysterion:

I said in my first post

"The only advice I will give is don't set your heart on summiting. Many things out of your control will ultimately decide if you summit or not."
Tezbully - on 15 Mar 2014
In reply to mysterion:

Hi mysterion
In my life I've always listerned to the voice of experience and I'm very greatful to those who have taken the time to reply to my question,however with the right planning,training,research and the sheer determanation anything is possible,and yes I know your are proberly thinking idiot and so will many who read this but I don't do negative thinking.
Once again thanks for taking the time to reply.

Tez
NeilOMalley - on 15 Mar 2014
In reply to Tezbully:

Just go over there and walk to the top. Its easy, can do it in a day.
Tezbully - on 15 Mar 2014
In reply to NeilOMalley:

Love it...
Nice one bud
altirando - on 15 Mar 2014
In reply to Tezbully:
Delayed response¨! Just ambled up with a club mate. Up via the old Gouter hut, down via the Bossons glacier. But it was certainly not our first time in the alps and both of us were experienced rock climbers. If you go with a company one that has training first on mountains like the Gran Paradiso is preferable. Or just wait another year and try your luck somewhere like Saas Fee.
Post edited at 23:17

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