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Mont Blanc, France/Italy


Prominence: 4697 m, 15410 ft

Elevation: 4810 meters, 15,781 feet


True Isolation: 2812.04 km, 1747.32 mi
Alternate Name(s)Monte Bianco
SubpeaksMonte Bianco di Courmayeur (4748 m/15,577 ft)
Dome de Goûter (4304 m/14,121 ft)
Aiguille du Gouter (3863 m/12,674 ft)
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)45° 49' 58'' N; 6° 51' 53'' E
45.832704, 6.864797 (Dec Deg)
334170E 5077677N Zone 32 (UTM)
CountryFrance (Highest Point)
Italy (Highest Point)
State/ProvinceRhône-Alpes (Highest Point)
Valle d’Aosta (Highest Point)
County/Second Level RegionHaute-Savoie (Highest Point)
Aosta (Highest Point)
Links

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Lists that contain Mont Blanc:
     The Seven Summits (Unranked)
     France Region High Points (Rank #1)
     Alpine Peaks with 2000 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Italy Region High Points (Rank #1)
     Alpine 4000-meter Peaks (Rank #1)
     Core Europe Country High Points (Rank #1)
     Core Europe Peaks with 1500 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     France Department High Points (Rank #1)
     Alps Range4 High Points (Rank #1)
     Italy Province High Points (Rank #1)
     France Alps Peaks with 600 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Core Europe 50 Most Prominent Peaks (Rank #1)
     French Region/Territory High Points (Rank #1)
     Alps Top 50 by Prominence (Rank #1)
     Alpine Peaks with 1000 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Europe High Points with Iberian Substitution (Rank #1)
     France Peaks with 600 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     France Alps Top 50 by Prominence (Rank #1)
     Italy Alps Peaks with 600 meters of Prominence (Rank #1)
     Italy Alps Top 50 by Prominence (Rank #1)
     Europe Range3 High Points (Rank #2)
     Europe Country High Points (Rank #3)
     Europe 4500-meter Peaks (Rank #9)
     World Peaks with 4000 meters of Prominence (Rank #11)
     World Top 50 by Prominence (Rank #11)
     World Top 100 by Prominence (Rank #11)
     World Peaks with 1000 km of Isolation (Rank #13)
     World Country High Points (Rank #31)
(Peak is on over 20 lists; Not all shown here.)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Europe's High Points (McKeating, Crolla)
       Voices from the Mountains (Venables)

Selected Trip Reports from this site:
     1974-08-19 by Petter Bjørstad
     1977-07-18 by Pere Rodés Muñoz
     1979-07 by Bo Belvedere Christensen
     1979-09-05 by Pere Rodés Muñoz
     1990-08 by Peter Stone (Unsuccessful)
     1993-08-17 by Greg Slayden (GPS Track)
     1994-07-29 by Joe Lavelle
     2004-09-09 by Tim Benjamin
     2006-06-28 by Rickard Colliander
     2009-06-26 by David Harrington-Lynn
     2010-06-07 by Masoud Alipour
     2010-06-26 by Rob Woodall
     2010-07-01 by Alexandra Marcu
     2010-07-10 by Stephen Wheeler
     2010-07-16 by Damo Buch
     2010-08-26 by Marcin Radwan (Unsuccessful)
     2011-07-18 by Peter Stone
     2011-09-15 by Shadle Stewart
     2012-09-16 by Andrej Gerber
     2013-06-26 by Peter Harrington (GPS Track)
     2013-08-30 by Louis Erritt

View ascents of peak by registered Peakbagger.com members.

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Mont Blanc
     Elevation Ladder from Mont Blanc
     Prominence Ladder from Mont Blanc


Description:

If the Caucasus is not held to be "European", then Mont Blanc is the highest point in Europe. Arguments rage back and forth over whether Mont Blanc or Elbrus in far southern Russia deserves this title, but, given a strict definition of the Asia-Europe boundary as the crest of the Caucasus, Elbrus is the king and therefore one of the famous "Seven Summits".

Blanc, however, has more isolation (distance to a higher peak) than Elbrus, and it is clearly the dominant summit of the large western peninsula of the Eurasian landmass. By any measure the monarch of the Alps is one of the world's premier summits.

A massive dome of snow, Blanc is one of the many instances in the world of the highest point in a range being one of the easier major summits to climb. The sheer size of Mont Blanc makes its summit area a broad, gentle crest, and routes from the French side are generally easier than the massive, jumbled face rising from the Italian half of the mountain.

Location:

French maps show the France-Italy border following the watershed line in the Mont Blanc Massif, except for a curious jog to the south that fully encloses the immediate summit area of Mont Blanc as totally in France. Italian maps show the boundary following the watershed line in full, with the summit on the border of the two nations. This is curious state of affairs, and it is not 100% clear which country is sovereign in a small patch of snow at the very apex of the Alps.

This web site takes the Italian view, and lists Mont Blanc as the highest point in both France and Italy. The reasons are: huge precedent for boundaries following watersheds around the world; nothing significant is lost to France by sharing the peak, while the Italians gain a real national high point; and no historic document or treaty can be found to support the unusual jog in the border.

Climbing Notes:

The standard and easiest route begins at the end of the Mont Blanc Tramway, a cog railway leading from Le Fayet and St. Gervais-les-Bains up to Nid d'Aigle at 2372m. From there a hiking path leads to the vicinity of the Tete Rousse hut at 3167m, and then the route reaches the most difficult section, the long ascent of the crumbling rock of the steep northwest face of the Aiguille du Gouter. Steel cables make technical rock-climbing gear unecessary, but rockfall down a gully that has to be crossed can be dangerous.

At the top of this steep face lies the Gouter hut at 3817m, and from there the route follows a long, snowy, undulating ridgecrest over several minor bumps, the net effect always up, to the summit. Crevasses are rarely present on this ridge walk, and if the weather is good the only problems are the incredible crowds of climbers and the increasingly thin air. A careful and confident climber should have no trouble soloing this peak.

It's best to hike to the Gouter Hut the first day, and then get an early start the next morning for the summit. On my climb I stayed at the lower Tete Rousse hut, figuring it would be less crowded, but I had to start up at 1 AM and face the crumbling rock face in the pitch blackness. Like most huts in the Alps, both the Tete Rousse and Gouter huts can get very crowded, noisy, and unsanitary. Some people bivouac outside near the huts and get away with it, despite the technical illegality of the practice.

There are other routes on Mont Blanc, of course. A long climb can be made directly from Chamonix via the Grand Mulets hut, but the larger vertical gain and nasty crevasse problems make this route much more serious than the Gouter route. Intrepid climbers also start at the top of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and climb Mont Blanc de Tacul and Mont Maudit on the way to Mont Blanc in one very long day.


The summit of Mont Blanc as seen from the Dome du Gouter area, on the standard ascent route (1993-08-17).
Web Map LinksBing Maps   MSN/Encarta   Google Maps
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 4697 m/15,410 ft
  Optimistic Prominence: 4697 m/15,410 ft
  Key Col: near Ozero Kubenskoye    113 m/371 ft
Isolation2812.04 km/1747.32 mi
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Kukurtlu Dome  (E)
Isolation Limit Point: 43° 20' 26'' N; 42° 24' 0'' E
    ILP Map Links:
Bing Maps   MSN/Encarta   Google Maps
RangesContinent: Europe
Range2: Alps (Highest Point)
Range3: Western Alps (Highest Point)
Range4: Savoy Alps (Highest Point)
Range5: Mont Blanc Massif (Highest Point)
Drainage Basins
Rhone (HP)
Gulf of Lion
Mediterranean Sea
Atlantic Ocean
Po (HP)
Adriatic Sea
Mediterranean Sea
Atlantic Ocean
First AscentAugust 08, 1786
Michel Balmat
Jacques Paccard
Route #1 Glacier Climb: Goûter Route
Trailhead: Nid d'Aigle (Railroad) 2372 m/7782 ft
Vertical Gain: 2438 m/7999 ft
Distance (one way): 7.81 km/4.85 mi
Google Maps Dynamic Map

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Other Photos


The crumbly rock face of the Dome de Gouter dominates this view of Mont Blanc from the Les Houches ski area (1996-03-10).


Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Italian topographic maps clearly show the France-Italy border passing over the summit of Mont Blanc, as specified by treaty.
Click here for larger-size photo.



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