France – Climbing Mont Blanc II
We are about 6 hours by walk from our camp and we've just overtaken a sharp snow section over the Gouter cabin. A reward in the form of a look at Mont Blanc itself was waiting for us! The trail is now more easier. Looking at the red sky around the mountain for a while, you will forget about the difficulty of the previous section. In the light of the first sun rays we walked to the foot of the mountain. The winds in these places began to grow stronger and my fingers were freezing. I couldn't even squeeze buckles on my backpack with my gloves stuffed with feathers and that's why you might want to get the proper gloves in time. Fortunately, Vallot was nearby, a metal shed at an altitude of 4,362 m above sea level, which serves as a cover aganist bad weather. There is a lot of rubbish, but one can feel warm for at least two minutes. Then you will feel cold even there. You have to move constantly, so don't be delayed and move on. If someone told me to go back, I probably would not even protest, I felt that the experience was probably enough for me, but we did not give up and went with on with sun hidden behind the clouds.
Another stretch of the trail above Vallot is a steep mountain with white stairs going up to the skies. After a moment's rest, the hike is pretty great. Moreover, one gets warm so the mood improves as a result. Although the slope is steeper than the previous one, it is much better thanks the stairs. In this section, it is not entirely pleasant to dodge people who are coming back. On some places, the trail leads along sharp icy ridges that will pay respect. There were not many climbers here, probably because of the weather that was far from ideal. On the beautiful day there must be a lot more people here. But the weather worsened and the clouds gathered more and more above the summit. Even the wind started to grow, so we put on the ski goggles I recommend to these with you. Panoramas are wonderful, but it's just a shame that you do not have the space to enjoy it. Once you stop you will feel the immense cold immediately. Even taking pictures or shooting a short video is a problem. It is essential to be always on move in these conditions. The summit is visible for a long time to you but the trail leading there seems endless. The view of the white area is very distorting. A dense white fog began to accumulate above us and had been slowly descending upon us. We turned back and saw a thin, foggy layer above the ground, floating round the surface beneath the dense cloud that covered the sky. I have never seen this phenomenon and it totally amazed me. Hopefully you will see it too.
Some climbers were so afraid that they had decided to go back. We had a clear goal and made a decision to hike up even if we would not seen anything from the top. The last dozens of steps follow a sharp ridge Moments of breath-taking views compensate the terrible hike. For a moment, we were sick to our stomach, and for a moment we had had a terrible headache. After more than 8 hours of continuous walking we reached the summit! The experience was worse for the fog. The peak is not a sharp tip that would suit such a mountain, but it is large, round, and there is no cross, plate, or other sign that anyone might expect.
Our impressions of the summit were mixed. We were excited for making it. And we had survived it, and the blissful feeling had warmed us for a while. At the same time we were terribly cold, our head was aching, and of course we were sorry we did not see anything at all. The strong wind made us hardly hear anything. However, we have fulfilled our goal we had planned for several months. However, a harsh journey back is ahead and we will bring you the details next week.
Text and photos: Martina Brožková
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