Mont Blanc Route

The Expedition


In association with Mont Blanc Guides the team (Tim Wood, Charlie Clinton, Alex Mason and Sanjay Dhandsa) aimed to reach the summit of Mont Blanc on 28th August 2011.

Our trip began on 23rd August when we took a ferry from Dover to Chamonix in France (on the border with Italy). After arriving at the Chalet we were told that the route we initially wanted to take was closed due to bad weather and rock falls and that there was a bad forecast for the following days. We were given the option to train anyway and have a go at a far more technically and physically difficult route. Always up for a challenge we decided to go ahead.


We spent 3 days training and acclimatising on the glacier. This was really exciting and reminded us of the gravity of the expedition. Walking across ledges only 1 foot wide with 3000 m drops either side, only tied to your mates  and relying on them to jump the other side of the ledge if you fall of one to counter the weight really makes you concentrate. Similarly, it was very sobering walking over 8om deep crevasses which descended into darkens below your feet.


We were quickly reminded why Mont Blanc kills more people than any other mountain on earth. Many people misjudge how difficult the climb is and frequently go ill equipped.


Despite electrical storms on the preceding days the weather was forecast for perfection with clear skies on planned summit day.


On 29th August we set of at 6 am before the sun came up to begin our ascent. Unfortunately, Sanjay did not undertake the final summit attempt due to a combination of altitude sickness and the change of routes that made this route far more technically and physically demanding. This was enormously disappointing but it is a mark of a man to know their limits in the face of something they have put such time and effort into. He was greatly missed but there in spirit.


The summit attempt involved climbing 2 peaks all over 4000m before the final climb to Mont Blanc at 4810 m (16 000 ft). The penultimate peak involved scaling a 60m high ice face with our crampons and ice axes. On our way back a woman had fallen and died 10 minutes before our descent and her ice axe was still in the snow. It was a reminder why we had spent so long training and invested so much in going with extremely experienced guides with the best record on the mountain.


We reached the summit at 11:40 am on Monday 29th August.  It was perfect weather and exhilarating. With clear skies we could see for miles around and could clearly make out the shimmering fountain of Geneva over 80 km away and beyond to what felt like the edge of the earth. Like something out of a film we cried and hugged at the summit before taking photos and making our way back.


The route required the same level of exertion on the way back as the way up due to the 3 peaks. However we managed to shave time of the trip with a quick descent making the trip one of the quickest the Mont Blanc Guides have had


We have had amazing support for friends, family and even people we have never met. To date our website has received over 52 000 hits and we have raised over £7 500. It has been a life changing experience and one that none of us will ever forget. We will continue to raise money until our donation page closes in January 2012.



Please keep an eye on our blog for continuous updates on how the team is doing.

You can also visit our twitter page and flickr account to see our very latest news and photos.

Don't forget to check out our Gallery.

Web site sponsored by and uses the Concrete5 Content Management System