The highest mountain in the Alps, and in Western Europe and an accessible mountaineering area, the Mont Blanc is a hiking and climbing mecca for enthusiasts the world over, with over 20,000 climbers reaching the summit each year. Here are some quick facts about the Mont Blanc summit and Massif.
At 4,809 m the Mont Blanc is the highest point in the Alps, and in Western Europe. As the snow covered all year round, the height can depend on the depth of snow and ice on the summit and so can vary in the range of a metre or two.
2: Mont Blanc Ascents
The Mont Blanc was first ascended in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard ; the first woman to ascend was Maria Paradis in 1808. In 2013, Kilian Jornet set the speed record on foot, with a record of 4 hours 57 minutes 34 seconds for the ascent…and descent!
There are several routes to the Mont Blanc, such as for example the classic route or Voie Royale. Our Mont Blanc Ascent trip takes the route from le Fayet, to Tête Rousse hut, Goûter hut and on to the summit.
The Mont Blanc massif is located mainly between France and Italy, but also touches Switzerland at its North Eastern end. Ownership of the summit itself is disputed ; the French naturally say it’s French territory, while the Italians insist it belongs to them. With only about 75 hectares in dispute, and a debate that has been going on since the French Revolution, we probably won’t be going to war any time soon.
4: The Largest Glacier in France
The Mer de Glace glacier on Mont Blanc is the largest glacier in France, at 7km long and 200m deep and is a popular destination for glacier walking, where beginners can try walking with crampons.
5 The most popular hiking route in Europe
The Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trail is one of the most popular walks in the world ; this legendary route circles the Mont Bland over a distance of around 170km, usually starting near Les Contamines. As if that wasn’t enough, it also joins the classic GR5 hiking trail, the long distance walking trail that begins at the North Sea and traverses France to the Mediterranean.
6 The highest train in France
The Mont Blanc tramway is the highest train in France ; the electric train has a cogwheel design to aid in the ascent and the carriages have lady’s dames like Jeanne or Anne and runs from St Gervais les Bains to the Nid d’Aigle station (Eagle’s Nest) at 2372m
The Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car from the Aiguille du Midi is the highest cable car in the world, a 5km journey across the Mont Blanc Massif (here at France Outdoors, we prefer travelling by foot!)