Mont Blanc View

Mont Blanc Part I: Acclimatization

As an introductory, acclimatization refers to a process wherein someone adjusts with the change in condition of the environment.

First day: Acclimatization until 3600m in Wallis/Switzerland and drive to Chamonix

Second day: Take the cable car from Chamonix to Aiguille du Midi at 3800m. Descending towards Cold du Midi and than a nice moderate ascent to Refuge Cosmique at 3613m.

Third day: The first part of this climb consists of climbing the north shoulder of Mont Talcul. It’s a 600 m wall including crossing crevasses and seracs. The second part consists of descending towards Col of Mont Maudit and then climbing Mont Maudit via a 45° steep wall, which could be icy and technical. After that comes a descending part towards the Col de la Brenva before climbing the famous wall called Mur de la Côte, a steep wall. The last 400 m before summit don’t have any technical difficulty. Still because of altitude, they might be challenging if you are not well acclimatized.

Mont Blanc Traverse

For this weekend, the weather forecast was not adequate for big mountains in Switzerland. On the other hand, the Mont Blanc massif weather seemed to be pretty. With this, I suggested Mont Blanc to my climbing buddy and we agreed to go for it! A kind of short term plan. That went very exciting.

Hinterer Allalin Ridge

We decided to do some acclimatization previously in the Wallis. Allalin is an easy 4000m peak and we did it just in one day. We were supposed to take the cable car and then the train to the highest metro station in the world called Metro-Allalin. From here, there were only 600 m to tackle until the summit. But we got off in Felskinn which is 500m underneath. We decided to reach the glacier through the Hinterer Allalin ridge.

Unfortunately, this was not a good idea. The ridge ended up being a non-ending story. We spent more than 6 hours on it and we were still not yet done. We didn’t even reach the Metro Allalin station. The rocks were loose and it seems like the last climbers here were few years ago, so we decided to end up the tour. We tried to go down through the metro tunnel starting from the middle station, which is in fact strictly forbidden, but the weather was turning bad. The other way would have led us to the glacier and we didn’t want to be there because of bad weather conditions. It took us a while to sort out ourselves and take off our gear.

In the meantime, many trains went up and down. Luckily, they saw us on the middle station. While still arguing whether we should take the tunnel up or down, a train going down stopped for us. Normally, they will stop only on their way up when passengers want to get off. The metro staff were scared that we would use the tunnel to go down. We were so thankful that they took us with them.

I have learned from this experience that having an accurate description of a tour is very crucial. Changing the planned tour during the climb should be done only if all aspects of the new plan are known.

All’s well that ends well. We were back to our starting point Saas Fee. We took the road direction of Chamonix!

My buddy Lorenz at the key section of Hinterer Allalin ridge

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