Advice for beginner seeking to climb Mont-Blanc : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

I've never climbed on anything sofar (except a pile of wood :-), but a little reading/browsing triggered that part of me, I decided to climb Mont Blanc to celebrate my 39th anniversary (early July 99) next year (can't wait till 40) However, I know nothing about climbing and the dangers of such a project... since you've made it (congrats !) I'd like to ask you a few questions: -1 Key to success: I'm preparing physically: lot of bike riding (2 ... 3 times a week) but almost at sea level... (I leave close to Luxembourg) I heard that altitude sickness and lack of preparation can ruin the ascend, how can you prepare for altitude? Are there any high summits around not requiring a guide (still didn't win at lotto!) you would recommend as warm up for novice/pre-beginner like me? Should I go see a doctor for a checkup? Is there any kind of medicine that helps? -2 Vertigo: nobody ever mentions it... are there such places where you feel like walking on a rope between the towers of WTC -3 Reservations: as you must book the guide one week in advance, what happens if the weather is bad the day you're supposed to climb, can you go the next day or do you have process another reservation and wait another week?

-- Benoit Dehoux (, September 20, 1998


1. For acclimatization I think the best is to *sleep* high and ascend slowly. I think one of the highest hiking summits around is Mt Buet. In the range itself, the problem is that to summit anywhere you have to cross glaciers which is dangerous if you are alone and/or don't have the proper training. There is a number of refuges which are above 2000m that you can reach on trail. Lac Blanc for instance is very pretty. To sleep around 3000, you could go to Torino hut (with the cable car), take in the great views and wander a bit on the glacier (which is not dangerous there if you don't go too far), or to Tete Rousse (which you might use also to climb mont-blanc in 3 days). At this altitude I would say doctor and medicine are not useful.

2. The Bosses ridge is a bit airy, but it is still reasonably large and not that exposed.

3. You should discuss with the guide as part of your arrangement.

-- Quang-Tuan Luong (, September 20, 1998.

1) I think that the key to success is to be prepared mentally. If you really want to climb that mountain, you can... Something that I experienced to be a big problem on my Mont Blanc climb was, that I couldn't walk properly. I made huge steps and got too exhausted too fast. Before climbing Mont Blanc again, I will practice walking (with a back pack - actually you won't need more than 2-3kg for Mont Blanc) and walking up and downhill... It might be a good idea to bring some aspirins when climbing the Mont Blanc. Headache is a normal problem at this altidude. Mt Buet, "Mont Blanc des Dames", in Argentiere is a great idea. It's a beautiful walk to 3099m.

2) The Bosses ridge can be a bit windy. And when it's crowded... well, maybe it could be a bit shaky, but it's feasable...

3) In July-August Chamonix is full of people wanting to Climb the Mont Blanc, so the guide could be booked for the next few days already. But I think there might be a chance of making an arrangement with the guides at the Independant Guides company.

Feel free to mail me if you have any questions... Andrea

-- Andrea Janda (, September 25, 1998.

Congrats for getting interested in the mountains, they'll give you more than you can imagine! I never climbed Mont Blanc, but I climbed 6000+ m peaks (actually, just two!) and I'm writing this to ensure that you don't underestimate the effect of altitude. Although it doesn't happen very often, people have died at 4500m from a combination of altitude and bad preparation. More often ,people are just sick and then it ruins your trip, and that's not interesting! Anyway, although some people have NO problem, you should respect certain principles,which you can all find in good mountaineering books of mountain medicine books. The most important thing is to know that acute mountain sickness and its complications exist, and you should know how their signs and symptoms. Since you come from sea level, you should be aware (although getting paranoid will also ruin your trip!). Yes, there are medications that help, and tons of tricks to help your body acclimatize. It would be too long to go into detail here! Read books, surf internet (watch references) or e-mail me for more questions, but don't just convince yourself there will never be problems if you ignore them! Besides that I firmly believe mountains are more fun than hassle!

-- Jean-Pierre Arsenault (, October 15, 2000.

what would u take on your trip to stay worm

-- anthony (, December 04, 2002.

i dont know if anyone still reads this page but, as far as advice on altitude sickness goes, people should be wary about masking the symptoms fo altitude sickness with pills (asprin for example). Get acclimatised properly! and make sure your fit. Also, if you get too sick, come down - common sense stuff but its amazing how many people suffer injury by not following these simple rules.

-- (, May 22, 2003.

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