How to Prepare for Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps region and among the highest in Europe. Chamonix - Mont Blanc is a popular destination for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, trail running and winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. It is estimated that every year, approximately 17,000 to 20,000 visitors climb on Mont Blanc. Mountaineering in this region is not only for professional climbers; all you need is the perfect guide with you.
Before embarking on a breathtaking adventure of Mont Blanc, it is wise to, first of all, familiarize with the art of mountaineering. One way to achieve this is by reading books such as “The Outdoor Athlete” by Doug and Courtenay or “Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete” by Steve House and Scott Johnston. Additionally, you should also interact with a personal trainer familiar with mountain climbing or join a training program.
Some of the top trainers in this field include; Doug and Courtenay Schurman of Body Results and Steve House, a staff at Uphill Athlete. By doing this, you acquire a lot of knowledge about mountaineering giving you a glimpse of what to expect during your adventure. That said, here are some tips to get you ready for the Mont Blanc.
1. Make Proper Preparations in Good Time
I would recommend that you start making your preparations for the climb at least six months before the actual climb. First, you need to make sure that your body is fit for the experience by engaging in the appropriate training. Include workouts such as walking uphill for several hours along with other workouts that will help stimulate your Mont Blanc ascent. Apart from physical preparation, it is important to also prepare mentally by doing enough research about the mountain. By doing so, you will be exposing yourself to learning out more about Mont Blanc, and this will help to avoid any surprises.
2. Choose the Right Gear and Equipment
Some equipment has been made compulsory to use while climbing Mont Blanc because of the accidents that occurred with previous sky runners. Some of this equipment includes; helmet, harness, rope, ice axe, crampons, a good pair of sunglasses, wind and water-proof clothing, hat, sun protection, and backpack. It is also essential to ensure that your pack weight is small, to avoid fatigue from carrying a heavy backpack. As for the gear, you should wear the appropriate footwear for the trip to prevent blisters. The clothing should be based on a layering system so that you can adjust to the temperature changes accordingly.
3. Choose the Appropriate Partner
Having a good partner on this adventure can make it a life-changing moment for you. It is important to choose a partner that will motivate you throughout your hiking experience. Also, it is recommendable to have an IMFGA mountain guide with you. They are highly trained and will assist in minimizing the hazards as well as take care of the logistical details.
4. Take Time to Acclimatize
The key to climbing Mont Blanc is to acclimatize. It is important to take your time and adjust to the different altitudes on the mountain. For example at 4,807 m, the oxygen levels are very low. Your body requires about one week to acclimatize to such an altitude to avoid acquiring altitude sickness.
To easily acclimatize, you can start by climbing Petite Aiguille Verte, Mont Blanc du Tacul or Domes de Miage before climbing Mont Blanc. There are tons of Alpine peaks that can help you build up your acclimatization. A slow but steady constant pace, good acclimatization, and a decent weather condition should lead to a successful climb.
5. Enjoy your Climb
Despite any hardships that might come with climbing a mountain, it is important to enjoy this adventure. Mountaineering in Mont Blanc is a life-changing moment and precious enough not to enjoy every bit of it. Remember that you might only do this once in your lifetime. However, it is important to note that you can always quit if the experience becomes unbearable. It is better to turn around than have to live with a disability for the rest of your life.