Following on from my previous post – I can report that Francois and I had a very successful Mont Blanc ascent – climbing and skiing the mountain in thirteen hours from the Grand Mulet hut.
The route was in superb condition, with no icy patches on the arete royale, just good neve snow to crampon up. It was very warm though, the freezing level was around 4000m but we had a little breeze. I wore my new Arcteryx down jacket, and was toasty all the way.
Francois was feeling pretty tired towards the Vallot hut, but ground it out to summit around 9.45am. He was pretty well acclimatized having come from Kilimanjaro the week before, and his mental toughness was fairly evident – no real surprise as he’d previously climbed the seven summits – Everest included!
We decided not to ski the north face from the summit, and so retraced our steps to the Vallot hut where we had stashed the skis. From there we had some good skiing on the spring snow, with plenty of short stops to rest the legs. We roped up to ski through the “junction” and then climbed on foot for a while to start the traverse back to the midi lift. It was super hot by this stage, and we got a real baking. In fact it was 28 degrees in Chamonix in the afternoon.
So good effort Francois – likely his last mountain for a while. Thanks to High Mountain Guides for the guiding work also. That’s it for me for a few weeks now. I have packed my ski gear away until next season.