Juan A. Huisa and Pedro López, members of the Seven Summits Sport Club (C. D.
Siete Cumbres), crowned Europe's most emblematic mountain in preparation for
the Andalucia-Antarctica 2004 Expedition
Andalucia: The members of the Seven Summits S. C., sponsored
by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte, the city of Sevilla and
Merkamueble, with the collaboration of Nervión Plaza, Instituto Municipal de
Deportes and Estadio Deportivo, continue with their preparation expeditions.
Just after crowning the highest summit of the Dolimites in Italy (Marmolada,
3,344 m.), the climbers went to the French Alps. The objective was to face
the most important mountain in Europe: Mont Blanc (4m807 m.)
After arriving to Chamonix, and asking about weather
conditions and the status of shelters, the two climbers started their feat.
The chosen route was the Classic Normal, which although is longer than the
others, has less risk of falling seracs, and in this season you can go without
excessive amounts of climbers around. The route starts in the Eagle's Nest at
2.386, and to get there you have to take the cable car in Les Houches up to
Bellueve and then take the train to Eagle's Nest.
A difficult path starts there southbound and after three
hours of climbing we get to Tete Rousse shelter at 3,167 m., and they spent
the night there for acclimatization. Because of the weigh carried and the
accumulated tiredness of the Dolonites, they had to make a perfect plan if
they wanted to get to the summit. Thus, Huisa and López took their time to
have a good acclimatization while the bad weather gave no truce.
The next step was to get to Gouter shelter at 3,817 m., but
the route gets complicated a lot because the climb is done by a rocky spur
with many parts of mixed climb (ice and rock) and falling stones were frequent
as they could see for themselves. After they got to the
shelter and they spent the night there to rest and for acclimatization. That
same day, more than 80 climbers who have tried the previous day came down, but
nobody could make it to the summit because of the weather conditions, so the
forecast was not very good.
After resting for a few hours, an army of climbers started
to walk at 3:00 in the morning, to try to defeat giant Mont Blanc; the last
weather forecast was better but with a lot of wind.
Juan Antonio Huisa says "It was spectacular to see a long
chain of climbers in the night, with their lights, how they got lost behind
every ridge. Mont Blanc is the Mecca of European alpinism. Little by little
we advanced to the Southwest across the glacier up to the summit of Dome des
Gouter with temperatures of under 10º Celsius below zero. We went down to Col
du Dome, from where a very steep slope starts towards Vivac de Vallot shelter
at 4,362 m. and from there a long ridge of bosses has to be taken up to the
summit of Mont Blanc. The ridge has an aerial part, i. e., as if you walked
on the edge of a knife with precipices on both sides, and the wind keeps you
from passing and every year a lot of lives are taken there. Of course with
the reigning wind and the low temperatures we could only enjoy, so to say, the
summit for ten minutes, the mandatory pictures and a quick and exhausting
descent of 6 hours to Eagle's Nest, but the objective was accomplished.
from Spanish by Jorge Rivera
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