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Mont Blanc via the Goûter Route attracts a lot of people, from all horizons and with all levels of ability. The idea of climbing the route in a day, either as a personal challenge or simply as a way of visiting the “roof of the Alps” without missing the evening’s aperitif, is attracting ever-larger numbers of experienced climbers. But it is still a mountaineering route, so, as always, speed must not give way to haste, especially if you’re climbing alone. A short account of a blustery ascent.

It’s important to get the facts straight when talking about the Goûter Route on Mont Blanc. Just because it is popular doesn’t make it any less alpine; it is graded PD-, after all. But that doesn’t stop some people talking about the Mont Blanc “motorway” as if it were no more than an overcrowded hiking trail. Of course, the technical difficulties are quite modest for an experienced mountaineer, but the altitude, relative solitude (on occasions) and weather can have a huge impact when climbing above 4,000 m. Not forgetting that “Mont Blanc is almost a 5,000-m peak, not a 4,000-m peak”, to quote mountain guide François Damilano, who occasionally does one-day ascents of Mont Blanc with clients. As does Mathéo Jacquemoud, another guide and former holder of the record for the fastest ascent of Mont Blanc.

 

It is not about turning yourself into a skyrunner or speed-climber, drool dripping down your chin.

So why climb alone ? Well, why not ?

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