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Scaling Mont Blanc, a climber's dream come true?

For us climbers, who sometimes travel thousands of kilometers to scale this legendary summit, Mont Blanc is far more than just another peak to climb. It is a dream, an aspiration. The amazing history of our passion was written on these very slopes. The intense effort, the unspoiled landscapes and elegant peaks, the close bond that develops within a rope team, and the battle with high altitude all contribute to making this a truly unique experience. We all want to share it with others.

January 21 2016

Mountaineering

© PETZL / Marc Daviet

When the dream starts with a photo

Immerse yourself in the Mont-Blanc Range via an interactive experience through Google Trek. Enjoy a 360° "street view" of the range to follow in the footsteps of Ueli Steck and Kilian Jornet through their training grounds. 

When the dream transforms into a project

Standing at 4810m above sea level, this peak is clearly reserved for the experienced mountaineer. Such an extraordinary climb is not for just anyone. Proper preparation, information, and equipment are all fundamental pre-requisites. It takes time to acquire experience in mountaineering techniques and knowledge of the mountain environment. If you want access to the untamed wilder side of nature, you have to accept the risk involved. The art of climbing mountains resides in knowing how to manage this risk. Take the time to identify and understand the nature of the specific dangers you will be facing in order to apply the appropriate solutions. Such magnificent places are also often very fragile.

Download the "Reaching the Top of Mont Blanc" brochure from the Petzl Foundation website

Before heading out, choose the right gear

Matériel de base en alpinisme © Petzl / Marc Daviet

Essential gear for snow routes when mountaineering

  • Daypack (30 or 40 liters)
  • 1 classic mountaineering ice axe
  • 1 single rope (minimum 50 meters)
  • 1 harness
  • 1 ice screw
  • 1 v-thread hook
  • A Helmet
  • A belay device
  • Crampons that are properly adjusted and equipped with anti-balling plates
  • Mountaineering boots that are warm, waterproof, and crampon-compatible
  • Gaiters
  • 2 double-length slings and 2 locking carabiners
  • A crevasse rescue kit
  • Navigation tools: map, altimeter, compass, GPS
  • 1 headlamp with fresh batteries
  • 1 survival blanket
  • 1 pair of warm socks + 1 spare pair
  • 1 pair of warm wind-resistant pants
  • Technical base layers
  • Fleece sweater
  • A windbreaker and water resistant jacket (Gore Tex shell)
  • Windbreaker and water resistant overpants (Gore Tex shell)
  • A warm parka
  • 1 pair of lightweight gloves + 1 pair of warm gloves
  • 1 beanie or headband
  • 1 pair of category 4 sunglasses + 1 spare pair
  • High-protection sunscreen
  • 1 first aid kit
  • Snacks + high-calorie "savory" food
  • 1 water bottle
  • 1 knife
  • ...

Download the basic gear list [pdf - 226 Kb]

Petzl - Basic gear list mountaineering

A few key tips for glacier travel

While preparing your gear represents one of mountaineering's classic rituals, knowing how to use it and how to travel on a glacier is equally as important for any project.  

Three techniques for tying in, with or without chest coils

The entire length of the rope is not always needed. One technique for tying in allows you to stow away excess rope while walking, and then provides for quick access when needed.

© Boris Dufour

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Glacier travel as a two-person rope team

Walking on a glacier is not technically difficult, but the risk of falling into a crevasse is ever-present. Unfortunately, one never sees a crevasse before falling into one, so you need to be ready to react when the ground disappears beneath your partner's feet.

© PETZL / Marc Daviet

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Crossing a bergschrund on a snow route

On a snow route like climbing Mont Blanc, the major technical difficulties usually involve crossing the bergschrunds, with short but steep or dead-vertical headwalls to climb over. Belaying your partner is much different than the technique used when simply walking on a glacier.

© Petzl / Alexandre Buisse

View the entire tech tip

View all of our mountaineerintg tech tips

On each activity page, the tech tips are organized by chapter: basics, belaying, gear…

Mountaineering tech tips on petzl.com

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