Don’t risk your life, or endanger others, by going up Mont Blanc without the right equipment. Simple eh?
If you need someone to explain what the right equipment is for going up a 4810m, glacier topped mountain then you’re not experienced enough to go up without a guide.
Nats and I have been in Chamonix for 2.5 years now and still haven’t been to the top of Western Europe. It’s not for the want of experience, Nats has climbed the Matterhorn & various other 4000m peaks and I’ve crossed glaciers in Arctic Norway. We’ve even climbed Mont Blanc de Tacul (4,248m), but we did it with with boots, crampons, axes, rope, helmets, full length trousers, goggles, etc.
One way or another it just hasn’t been the right time, be it down to races, rocks spitting from the Grand Couloir or the weather, it’s a serious undertaking, even travelling with the right gear and trying to go up and down in a day .
So if you’re coming out for UTMB or just visiting Chamonix for a holiday and you’re thinking of “running” up Mont Blanc (the altitude will mean that you won’t actually be running if you’re wondering) then please think twice.
Just this Thursday a 28 year old Traileur slipped at 4500m and fell 300m to his death whilst “running” Mont Blanc in his trail running gear. The runner Matthieu Craff, from Brittany, was “sans équipement d’alpinisme” and fell from the Bosse Ridge on the normal route many take each day to the top.
This death comes just days after the Mayor of St. Gervais said fines would be payable by those disrespecting the route with inadequate kit, but many questioned how this could be implemented. Mont Blanc, and the rest of the massif, claim multiple lives each year and the mountains are no joke up high.
We’ve seen Brits coming out and think that adding an ice axe and some micro spikes to a pair of trail shoes makes them safe in the mountains. Trust me, you’re not and the fact you’re still here has an element of luck involved.
Ultimately it’s down to the individual to decide what they are willing to risk, but if you are coming to Chamonix this Summer then don’t be a fool. Going up Mont Blanc without the correct equipment not only endangers you, but also those around and the others that have to go searching for lost traileurs and those in danger.
You don’t have to be a trail runner to make these mistakes, but we will get the brunt of the blame so why not set an example, rather than be one.
The mountain will always be there, so if your experience isn’t quite right, you don’t have the right gear or if the weather isn’t spot on then just wait. If you want to go lightweight then don’t be ridiculous. A couple of extra kilograms might slow you down, but it might also save your life.
There are plenty of Guides in Chamonix, plenty of experienced mountaineers and plenty of risk. If you are going up lightweight then still be safe and be a responsible Tweeter.
You don’t know who’s watching and who will follow you to their death.