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  7 SUMMITS SO FAR AND STILL COUNTING: MONT BLANC


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.

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Altitech2: Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms. Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032 battery. See more here.

 






 

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