The mountain we mainly wanted to climb was Mt Blanc, the highest mountain in
western Europe. The route from the Cosmique Refuge is more difficult than the
normal (tourist) route up the Gouter ridge. We would have to leave the hut at
3500m, climb most of Mt Blanc du Tacul, go over Mt Maudit, and then continue to
the summit of Mt Blanc at 4808m. It would take about 7 or 8 hours with a 1am
start. We organised ourselves so we could return the way we came or go back by
the Gouter route.
This is Mt Blanc du Tacul (with the moon
over it). The route up involves ziz-zagging up the center through the crevasses
and seracs before turning right to cross over the shoulder at the lower end.
Some of this was steep, but all of it was climbed in the dark so you didn't
really see the drop below you.|
We left the hut about 2am and reached the shoulder of Mt Blanc du Tacul as the
sun began to redden the eastern sky for dawn. We paused there for a quick break
to appreciate the views. || |
On the far side we dropped some height and came over to Mt
Maudit. Again the route involves a zig zag up the center and then you turn right
to the shoulder. The crux is climbing the 80m 50-60 degree snow slope to the
shoulder. But we didn't get that far. You can just make out the 4m snow step in
the middle of the face. The black dots are the two queues of climbers that
formed to try and get over it.
We made it there but after 30 minutes of waiting we knew we
would have another hour at least. Fingers and toes were going numb from the cold
and there was a biting 40-60kmh wind blowing. So we decided to turn back at
|| On the way back to the
Cosmiques hut we crossed over Mt Blanc du Tacul again so we ran up to its summit
at 4248m. I have my head torch on as the sun had only been up an hour or so at
The wind was still blowing so despite the sun it still was
bitterly cold. Penny and Elaine are demonstrating this!