Mont Blanc Summit | Trois Monts June 27 2024

Mont Blanc Summit | Trois Monts June 27 2024

high on the Trois Monts Route on Mont Blanc
Topping out on the Maudit Shoulder on Mont Blanc.  Photo: Zeb Blais

Mont Blanc Summit via Trois Monts Traverse

2024-06-27  |  Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc

Blackbird teams reached the summit of Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts route last week.  The summit was the culmination of days of climbing and acclimatation in preparation and the team was elated to reach the highest point in Western Europe and the Alps!  Due to unsettled weather, our team had to pivot objectives and shift the timing of our summit attempt.  With a weather day planned into the program, we were able to add an extra day of acclimatization and push our summit attempt on Mont Blanc to a day with better weather.

Wind pummeling climbers on Mont Blanc during our summit push.  Yes, we got pummeled too.
Wind pummeling climbers on Mont Blanc during our summit push. Yes, we got pummeled too :/.   Photo: Zeb Blais

Our summit day was good weather, it wasn't perfect weather.  On Mont Blanc, you can't ask for perfect - you have to take what you can get!  Our summit day was perfectly reasonable to make the attempt and despite some strong winds, we were able to make the summit in good style.  Wind and blowing snow added to the challenge, but mild temperatures (4600m freezing level) allowed us to push into high elevations without worrying about cold injuries.

Mont Blanc is renowned for its inclement and windy weather and this season has been more difficult than most.  Weather windows have been short and have showed up with little notice, making planning a summit bid challenging.  Our team has been working hard to spot summit windows and line up hut bookings to get our climbers to the top!

The good part of the unsettled weather is that the large snowfall totals have made for excellent conditions on the Trois Monts, Goúter and other routes on Mont Blanc.  Storms have blanketed the high elevations of the Rhone Alps with snow, even stuffing mountains like the Matterhorn with unsurmountable snow (as of yet this year).  Snow-based routes are really fat and have even been shut down by built up cornice on routes like the Midi-Plan Traverse.  

The shoulder of Mont Maudit, usually the technical crux of the route that becomes a full pitch of alpine ice when the snow melts, was a simple bershrund crossing with a deep bootpack to the ridge.  Guides were short roping this section saving huge amounts of time on summit day.

The Shoulder of Mont Maudit, the crux of the Trois Monts Route, is often steep and icy.
The Shoulder of Mont Maudit, the crux of the Trois Monts Route on Mont Blanc, , is often steep and icy.  It is currently perfect bucket steps!  Photo: Zeb Blais

On the Trois Monts, the last 300-400m of the climb were more difficult due to the new snow.  Instead of firm cramponing, the snow surface was soft and faceted, making for difficult and laborious steps.  That said, the new snow was certainly more of a benefit than a hindrance and the route was in phenomenal condition and fast.

Looking toward the summit of Mont Blanc from the Shoulder of Mont Maudit.
Looking toward the summit of Mont Blanc from the Shoulder of Mont Maudit.  Photo: Zeb Blais

Our team made good time to the top and we descended the Goûter Route (Voie Normal) to the Refuge du Goûter.  The normal route is also in excellent condition at the moment, with firm snow and steps kicked into the new snow.  The route now goes onto the North Face in the lower part of the Bosses section, providing a nice, low angle and fast route to the hut.

Descending the Gouter Route on Mont Blanc.
Descending the Gouter Route on Mont Blanc, Photo: Zeb Blais

The Goûter Hut was full, as per usual, but after a nice nap, the atmosphere was lively due to many successful summits.  The Goûter makes for a good stop on the descent because it breaks up the climb so that 1) the Grand Couloir can be crossed when it is least hazardous (in the coldest part of the day) and 2) the final day back to the cars is not too long.

The Refuge du Goûter after a successful summit of Mont Blanc with a guide
The Refuge du Goûter is a great spot to get a nice dinner and some rest after a successful summit of Mont Blanc with a mountain guide. Photo: Zeb Blais

The final morning, we woke early to descend the Aiguille du Goûter and cross the Grand Couloir.  We crossed it at first light, and the snow was perfect - a firm path of footsteps consistent across the whole couloir!  This made travel easy going and we got the the Téte Rousse early for breakfast before making the final hike down to the Ni d'Aigle where we caught the Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Bellevue cable car to Les Houches.

A great climb with excellent conditions!  Despite the unsettled weather being a bit hard to plan around, the conditions have continued to be excellent on snowy routes such as the Trois Monts!

Come Climb with us in the Alps!

If you'd like to climb with us in the Alps, reach out!  We organize private and group trips in the French, Italian and Swiss Alps and can build the perfect program for you and your climbing partners!  Beyond Mont Blanc, we also climb Italy's highest peak, Gran Paradiso, and the world's most iconic peak, the Matterhorn.  Email us at info@blackbirdguides.com today!

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