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Everything you need to know about Mont Blanc

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French for White Mountain, Mont Blanc is considered the birthplace of modern mountaineering. But it’s not just the sole preserve of professional climbers. Below its peak, Mont Blanc boasts miles of easily navigable Alpine passes perfect for walkers. We reveal some fascinating facts about the highest mountain in the Alps; from lesser-known trivia to the inside track on climbing and hiking in the area.

Where is Mont Blanc?

On the border of Italy and France, the mighty Mont Blanc sits within some eye-popping mountain and alpine scenery where valleys and mirror-glazed lakes compete for your attention.

Birthplace of modern mountaineering

In 1786, local crystal hunter Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard were the first to reach the summit. Following his first ascent, Balmat led other climbers to the top, including the first woman, Marie Paradis, in 1808. Nowadays, approximately 20,000 climbers reach the summit every year.

Mont Blanc

The Cursed Mountain

Mont Blanc, alongside other peaks in the massif, used to be known as Montagne Maudit (Cursed Mountain). Now this term only refers to the mountain near Mont Blanc, which stands at 4,465m.

How high is Mont Blanc?

At a whopping 4,807 metres (or 15,780ft) above sea level,Mont Blancis the highest mountain in the Alps and the tallest in Western Europe. Its height differs year to year, depending on snow cap levels.

How long does it take to climb Mont Blanc?

It usually takes three days. However, it could take some climbers up to seven days allowing for acclimatisation. Excellent levels of fitness and stamina are required.

Can you climb without a guide?

Unless you’re an expert mountain climber, you’ll definitely need a mountain leader to show you the safest way to the summit. On Mont Blanc, only qualified International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) guides can take you.

When’s the best time to climb Mont Blanc?

The best time to climb is between May and September when the refuges (or mountain huts) are also open.

Mont Blanc refuges

I don’t want to climb. Can I walk Mont Blanc?

You don’t have to summit Mont Blanc to enjoy the region’s beauty. Our Trek the Classic Tour du Mont Blanc holiday circumnavigates the area below the mountain’s peak, leading you through Alpine passes in France, Switzerland, and Italy. There are all sorts of sightseeing opportunities along the way, including the spectacular Chamonix Valley.

What’s the temperature like?

July is considered the warmest month while January is easily the coldest. April and August are the driest and wettest, respectively. The lowest recorded temperature on Mont Blanc was43C in January 1893.

How long is the Mont Blanc Tunnel?

The tunnel goes under the Mont Blanc, linking Chamonix in France with Courmayeur in Italy. It’s just over seven miles long and was opened in 1965 after six years in construction.

What else is there to see and do around Mont Blanc?

Located on Mont Blanc’s southern side, Courmayeur is one of Italy’s most popular ski resorts. Here you can elevate your senses by taking a ride on Skyway Monte Bianco – a cable car that ascends to an altitude of 3,466 metres at its final stop. 

And after a day’s walking, there’s plenty of hearty regional food to enjoy, including speciality breads, cheeses, and traditional treats.

Feeling inspired to visit Mont Blanc?

Trek the Classic Tour du Mont Blanc

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