Two belgians climb the top of Mont Blanc through a very tough route —the Italian side on the full Brouillard ridge— to raise funds for Duo for a Job, a non-profit organization where retired seniors help unemployed youngsters get their first job.
Update! July 22nd, 1:30 PM CEST, Max wrote:
Yesterday, at 5 pm, we finally summitted Mont Blanc! Here is how we approached the summit:
We woke up at 4 am. It was time to make a decision: the weather forecast had dramatically changed and thunderstorms were expected during the early evening. Either we cut trip short at col Amedeé —our only exit— or we squeezed two days in one. We decided to double our efforts and get to Mont Blanc by 5pm to make it to Refuge Cosmique by 9pm.
So we got started, with no time to lose. We kept climbing the ridge, with some difficult passes, but overall it was OK. Altitude was not the easiest. Around the 4600m, the path was a mix between climbing ridges and snow-walking ridges, so we kept taking our crampons on and off.
The snow ridges were quite scary: noone else had went through there so we had to mark our step on a steep slope with a 2000m fall. Exciting!
Slowly but surely, we approached the Mont Blanc but we were dead tired: we didn’t stop for lunch or water to avoid wasting time, except for a 5′ break to munch on some cereal bars and, yes, ice —we had a hard time melting it— to keep ourselves hydrated.
We were lucky. As we were a bit late, there was nobody there. The whole view for ourselves! It was very windy but overall there was a nice weather.
After that, we took off towards Mont Maudit and Mont du Tacul to reach the refuge on time. We rushed and got there by 9 pm. Thunderstorm broke at 9:30. Phew!
We were exhausted but so happy! In total, yesterday we covered a 10 km distance with 1300m of positive elevation, always above the 4200m. Sweet. Today, we did the Arête des Cosmiques to get to the lift, then headed back to Italy and hitchhiked to the car.
Thank you all for your support! If you still wish to support Duo for a Job please contact them at their website or leave a message at the bottom of the page.
Update! July 22nd, 1:30 PM CEST, Max wrote:
We made it! Yes! We’re exhausted but so happy! An update coming soon on how we reached the summit.
Update! July 21st, 6:30 PM CEST:
As promised, here is the video of yesterday’s arrival to the bivouac. Sorry for the low resolution!
Update! July 20th, 7:30 PM CEST, Max wrote:
First day was really intense! We left refuge Montebianco in Val Veny, in Italy, at 5 am, and ascended 2800m in the course of 14 hours, with only a half-an-hour break. We went through multiple peaks, which implied climbing up and down because the ridge so required it. Now we settle at the bivouac for some wonderful dried food and some rest. Tomorrow, we will try pushing towards Mont Blanc although it will depend on the weather.
Today’s ascent consisted of climbling, mostly. It was quite technical, but not too hard, with a couple of scary moments, though.
The bivouac, where we stand now, is a little platform with snow and stones at 4000m high and a 2000m altitude drop as I look down! The view from here is incredible: we can see the Italian Val d’Aosta and Aiguille des Glaciers, and Ecrins and Vanoise, in France. In front of us stands the Pic Amedeé, which is the last proper peak before our last hike to Mont Blanc de Courmayeur and Mont Blanc.
I will keep you guys updated. Probably a video coming tomorrow —I sent the video to the Explore&Share team who will help me by adding subtitles—. Cheers!
About the adventure
From Monday July 20th until Thursday July 24th, Jib (aspirant IFMGA guide) and Max will attempt climbing the Mont Blanc from the Italian side on the full Brouillard ridge —arête intégrale du Brouillard—, a very unconventional expedition due to its length in complete isolation (4 days, no refuge) and difficulty (D). Only 10 rope-teams have completed this route so far – chances of achieving the summit are somehow limited.
The two friends are super excited by the challenge and have been preparing for months, waiting for the weather window! However, chances to succeed are limited considering weather conditions and the physical efforts required. To give the team a boost, they decided to raise funds in order to support Duo for a Job, an acclaimed Belgian non-for-profit that has been successfully putting young unemployed immigrants back to work thanks to retired professionals who volunteer as mentors.
Sponsor the team to help them achieve the summit! All money raised will of course be entirely given to Duo for a Job as the team itself fully pays the expedition costs. Whatever the amount, we need your support for this adventure! Please leave us a message at the bottom of the page if you want to contribute. We will come back to you.