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An amazing trip but oh so hard. I have climbed Kili but this was on another level entirely. Fantastic weather everyday although that made the ascent very hard especially as we climbed to the summit from midday
All 6 of the group reaching the summit together
Patrick was Very good and filled you with confidence. We were lucky enough to be joined by the legendary Bernard for the last 3 days
Train very hard for this
Great trip with a great team. Tough but we all made it. I would definitely recommend it but don't underestimate the challenge and the altitude .
Eventually reaching the Summit and feeling on top of the world.
Bernard, our leader is a well known and respected mountaineer and we had total faith in him and his decision-making. Although his English wasn't always completely clear he was humorous and totally at ease which made us feel comfortable and reassured.
It's really important to be fit and to have endurance as the mountain can be unforgiving. Working as a member of a team is crucial as you can support each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Take time to enjoy the beauty of the mountains around you. The Alps are fantastic and for the English, only on our doorstep !
For a 65 year old like myself it was tough and fully desrving of its E category. It made trekking to Everest Base camp feel like a walk in the park.
Summitting Mont Blanc on what the guides told us was the best day of the season weather wise. We could even se Lake Geneva.
Our leader over the first 3 days trained us in the use of ice axes, crampons etc but made no concessions for my age and told me he thought I wouldn't make the summit. On the actual ascent our new guide was excellent and said if I was determined to do it and took it slowly I had a chance of doing it. He was a gem.
It really justifies its E grading. If you are younger and fit it shouldn't be a problem. If you are older be aware of what you are taking on.
Why do people run marathons? Why do people row single handed acroos the Atalntic etc. They all want to challenge themselves and Mont Blanc is a real challenge.
Definitely have your heels taped up as you don't want blisters on this day. The summit day will be about 13 hours and you'll almost certainly need mittens - they keep your hands a lot warmer than ski gloves. If its windy up there, ski goggles are essential - sunglasses aren't good enough in high winds. Have your camera kept warm in a fleece pocket as it may not work in the cold.
Olly Leicester - Sales
After trekking in high winds across mountaintops, they are truly welcome. They're not as most comfortable as hotels but are better than tents! They can be noisy at nights (people wandering in and out of the dorms, and people snoring!) so ear plugs are essential if you want a good night's sleep. The evening meals that are served are proper winter warmers which will fuel you up ready for another hard day in the mountains!
Olly Leicester - Sales
The training is undertaken by a professional High Mountain Guide, with a ratio of one guide between six clients for days 2-5, Additional guides will join us on days 6 and 7 for the attempt on Mont Blanc; here the ratio will be 1:2. You will meet your guide on the first evening for an introductory, informal meeting/briefing.
Olly Leicester - Sales
It’s not necessary to take both currencies as the places we visit in Switzerland will take Euros. However, you may not get a particularly favourable Euro/ Swiss Franc exchange rate, but you won't be spending much when over the border so the difference is minimal.
Katarzyna Crompton - Customer Operations
Clothing - it's regular trekking gear, so breathable layers, thermal underwear, walking socks, warm hat, waterproof rucksack cover, water bottles or hydration system and so on.
Money - About €200 will cover the lifts up the mountain, and drinks as well. I think I spent about €160 or so altogether.
Kit - a liner or sleeping sheet is a good idea, justs puts something bewteen you and the blankets. The walking pole was essential, as you lean on it a lot going up - walking poles are important on this trek. My guide always used them. Either both at the same time, or sometimes one pole in one hand and ice axe in the other.
The equipment in Chamonix is of a good standard as you hire from the local op direct and he's a very experienced mountaineer. There won't be a shortage of equipment and all shoe sizes are catered for.
I would also definitely take along a water bottle, a lot of people use camel bacs (keeping hands free) but they do freeze on the summit day as the temperature can be as cold as minus 20 degrees before the sun rises. They are fine to use for most days of this trip, but not for the summit day so you should take bottles.
The ascent - It's not a particularly technical climb but I found it very tough in terms of effort. Saying that, finding it tough didn't make it un-doable, just tiring! The ascent day was the hardest, we were walking for about 14 hours or so. The first few hours in the dark were very tough, and you need to be prepared for this, walking in freezing temperatures at night with a head torch. They take it slowly but it takes it out of you.
It's also the elements, wind blowing across, snow, the gear weighing you down and the steep angle you walk at - not to be underestimated.
General - Earplugs are always a good idea when sharing rooms!
Olly Leicester - Web Sales Team Leader
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