I have climbed Mount Everest to the top and lead over 100 Expeditions around the world over the past decade. I have climbed Mont Blanc 7 times to date and happy to share my experience from climbing this incredible peak. Learn more about our Mont Blanc climbs HERE.
1). Come with a climbing partner. If you are signing up to a group trip you need to consider coming with a partner of the same physical, mental and technical ability. For the Mont Blanc portion of the trip you will be roped up with a guide. So, two climbers and 1 guide. If you are assigned to a rope with someone of a different ability and they have to turn around, you would also need to go back, and your summit attempt is over.
2). Excellent physical preparation. Mont Blanc is a physical challenge and is a mountaineering trip. There are no porters, so you need to be comfortable carrying you pack with everything you need for moving higher on the mountain. This means you need to be training with a backpack, used to walk long distances on steep terrain. If you have to summit from lower down due to incoming weather you will need to be able to do more and push harder. This is not trekking, this trip may require more from you, so you need to be training harder and longer with a weighted backpack and building your strength and endurance to match the long days on steep terrain at altitude.
3). Test your gear. You need to carry your equipment so make sure you have tested it and only bring what you need. Having winter mountain experience will help you understand the essential gear needed for this trip. Learning how to be a minimalist is important. You do need to be comfortable and test your clothing, so you have the right gloves, layers, down jacket and be comfortable using all equipment.
4). Pick a 6-day program. More acclimatization and training gives you safer climb to high altitude. We like to get up to 4,000m/ 13,000 feet prior to going onto Mont Blanc. We can do this in Chamonix, Switzerland or Italy and is weather pendent. We have found climbing Gran Paradiso is a good lead up to Mont Blanc and is a beautiful trek in and climb.
5). Be comfortable in a mountain environment. You should consider doing a winter skills course. We run trips in Scotland every winter, exposing you to harsh conditions, steep terrain and a great opportunity to get out training and preparing for climbing Mont Blanc. You will gain experience walking on a rope with other people, managing an ice axe, walking in crampons and testing out your mountaineering boots.
6). A lot of people flock to Mont Blanc in July and August. You can start climbing in late May, June and September are alternative months to consider climbing. June has been the best month for me but the weather in the Alps is unpredictable and storms can roll in at any time.
7). Mont Blanc is steep walking up and down. This means your training needs to be on steep terrain walking up and down. You will be carrying your mountaineering gear up to 12kg so we recommend you are training with up to 24kg before you come to Mont Blanc. You need to have the specific conditioning needed to be safe and successful for this challenging trip.
8). Book early so huts are guaranteed. There are limited spaces available in mountain huts like the Tete Rousse and Gouter hut. Make sure you secure your space 6 months in advance and start preparing for this once in a lifetime mountaineering challenge.
9). Do some mental preparation and get to understand the climb. We are happy to share pictures with you if needed. You will gain a lot of mental strength from prior altitude experience and your extensive training regime. Mont Blanc demands respect. Try getting out and doing some wilderness trekking, walking and get used to your gear and being comfortable going to the toilet outdoors and using the mountaineering equipment you will be using on your Mont Blanc climb.
10). Nutritious food is important for any expedition but it can very difficult to eat at altitude and get the right foods. Having nutritional supplements are really important to maintaining a strong immune system and be healthy throughout the whole trip. You will using a high level of exertion daily on this trip and food does not always seem appealing so making sure you have vitamins and protein bars for recovery and well being is important. For your summit night you should consider glucose sweets, Clif shot blocks and hyper hydration from Skratch Labs. You should also consider having some familiar food favorites on the mountain. Having a hard time with the altitude, those familiar snacks may be all you can get down. So remember, within reason (you definitely do not want to be carrying too much un-necessary weight up the mountain), bring yourself a little treat when for you may need it the most!