/ A quick climb up Mont Blanc

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Minneconjou Sioux - on 25 Mar 2012

I am flying back to France in late September for a meeting and could tag on a few days before it starts to go and climb Mont Blanc. I have Alpine experience and understand the debilitating nature of altitude without acclimatisation.

What, in the experience of the UKC faithful, is the shortest number of days I could reasonably expect to do the climb in, weather permitting?

My fitness will not be an issue, the main restriction (other than weather) will be acclimatisation. I realise there will be a lot of "it depends" but what is the quickest that someone has done it?
AdrianC - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: We did it in a single day. Had been climbing lots that summer but weren't super-acclimatised. Got the first cable car to the Aiguille du Midi, traversed the summit and were well on the way down before the headaches started. Got the train & cable car down to Les Houches and back to Cham the same evening.
jimtitt - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
My climbing partner flew in on Friday night from Delhi via Paris and was back in Munich for work Monday morning. But he spends most of his life in the air so he´s probably well acclimatised!
Albert Tatlock - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Did the Brenva Spur as a 1 st route of the season,many years ago. I was very fit but not at all acclimatised, spent half a day at the Midi before plodding round to the route that night.

Most of the route was a blur and not enjoyable,I would suggest a peak around 4 - 4300m and enjoy it rather than it be an ordeal in such a short time scale.

Late September,you will have more settled weather,less people on the hill.

Good luck
Minneconjou Sioux - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Big Jonnie:

Thanks for the replies so far. looks like I'm not totally out to lunch.

Jonnie, this is a bit of an itch that needs scratching. I've spent many seasons in the alps but just never climbed Mont Blanc and I won't have many other opportunities to do so.
Albert Tatlock - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Give it a blast then,just factor in more time for the lack of acclimatisation,and the post climb piss up.
lowersharpnose - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I have done arrival-hut-4000m and been fine.

I tried arrival-Cosmiques Arete-night at the Cosmiques- MB.
Felt rubbish that night and was very sluggish the next day, we turned around within an hour. Even though the experiment did not work, it was worth a try.

I don't think I could go straight up MB with no acclimatisation, but some can.

Let us know how it goes.
Mountain Llama on 26 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:


I climbed MB last Sept with my climbing partner after 10 days climbing around Chamonix. We acended / descendend via the Goutier Hut. Day 1 valley to hut. Day 2 hut, summit to valley.

I guess a great deal depends on how you have managed at altitude in the past - this should be a good indicator how you will perform. I seem to be OK with climbing high quickly but have found friends on other trips who struggled initially and needed a period to acclimatise.

You did not mention if you we're going under your own steam or using a guide. Obviously, if you use a guide your head can be more messed up as you know someone is watching over you, but if you're on your own then the buck stops with you and your climbing partner.

One last thought - rushing to the top and feeling crap due to lack of time is not the same as being prepared and taking in the whole experience of a great climb!

HTH Dave
jjj111jjj - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: three of us decided a few years back to do MB in a weekend. We flew out to Geneva thursday, went up to the Gouter hut friday. Friday night one was physically sick and didnt make it out of the hut. Saturday morning 2 am the two of us set off and I made it to 4,000 meters before being unable to move upward and had to turn around. My mate who is a fell runner felt fine and was dissapointed but on arraival back at the Gouter was throwing up over the balcony. On the way down we all ate hearty lunches at the Tete Rousse, so lack of acclimatisation was the limitation. If we'd done a second night high up we may have made it to the top.
Andy Nisbet - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I once drove out from Britain to work on a Mont Blanc course. I climbed it it on day 6 of a careful acclimatisation including three nights at increasing altitude, and I made it by the skin of my teeth. I would say 5 or 6 days is a minimum.
bms on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

A good few years ago I was one of a party attempting Mont Blanc with no acclimatisation via the Grands Mulets. Day 1 we arrived in Chamonix and used the first stage of the Midi cablecar to get to the hut. Day 2 was spent lounging around at the hut. Day 3 I made it to the summit with no problems but one of our party, a very experienced alpiniste with many ascents of M Blanc and other 4000m peaks, was quite ill by the time we reached the Col du Dome and had to be led down the mountain. He recovered quickly once below the Gouter hut.

I hadn't been any higher than Munro height in the preceding weeks so consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed the whole experience.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 02 Apr 2012
In reply to bms:

Thanks for all of the replies. I'm aware that this might not work but it looks like it is at least possible with a fair wind so I'm going to give it a go.

professionalwreckhead - on 04 Apr 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Minneconjou Sioux: This is a brilliant read: http://susurs.mii.lu.lv/juris/mtblanc/

Basically a guy who decided to wander up Mont Blanc in his jeans with a couple of cups of tea to keep him going
pneame on 04 Apr 2012
In reply to professionalwreckhead:
That trip report should be posted on UKC's home page - tons of useful advice there on topics that appear weekly on the forums.
Very impressed.
And I'm not being sarcastic - he's got a talent for adjusting to circumstances and doesn't seem to have taken any undue risks.
Dry sense of humor, as well.
Enty - on 04 Apr 2012
In reply to pneame:

Yeah - I read that months ago. Great trip report.

Withnail - on 05 Apr 2012
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I did it in 3 days after flying out from Scotland 2 years ago. Went up to Abri-Simond bivvy hut the first night then did Tacul and headed back down to the valley. The following day I headed up to the Abri Simond again then did an overnight ascent and arrived ontop about 6:30 in the morning via the 3 Monts route then descended the Gouter.

I think going to 4000M first on Tacul really helped. I'd have struggled to go straight up completely unnacclimatised. Even with this I felt pretty gubbed on the last few hundred Metres on Mt Blanc and was keen to get off the summit quickly and lose some Altitude. One of my best experiences in the hills.

However, I would definately not recommend it to everyone. Acclimatisation is such an individual thing-I'm sure you have a fair idea how you get on normally-those last few hundred metres do make a difference though, I certainly felt them!

The three Monts route was great by the way and very quiet, cant recommend it enough. Coming down the Gouter was a bit of a circus. I was really surprised to see some clients in total rag literally being dragged up the hill by their guides on the bosses ridge. They didnt look well acclimatised-I'm sure this isnt representative of most guide/client relationships but I reckon there is pressure to get people up in short acclimatisation plans, particularly on Mt Blanc.

hope that helps


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