Thursday, 25 September 2008
Well what a trip! Unsuccessful but fun none the less. The plan was simple, climb the highest mountain in Western Europe (Mont Blanc, 4808m) and fly off the summit with paragliders. I'd already climbed to the summit and flown off (Dôme du Goûter) almost 20 years previously and wanted to have another go but the mountain had other ideas ...
So Andrew, Jay, Hoppy, Chris and I had a bash but the weather just wasn't cooperating at all. We decided to climb the 'Normal Route' which is a non technical route which ascends up via the Goûter ridge, Dôme du Goûter, Bosses Ridge to the summit. But it was windy, windy, windy. Ascending up to the Goûter ridge was more like an ice climb as snow had recently fallen and was all the way down to the tramway station. Needless to say that there were loads of spaces in the normally packed Tête Rousse and Goûter huts as the weather forecast was not the best. Andrew entertained us by teaching us various card games and Jay brought the whisky ... Boy it was cold, really cold.
When the summit morning came at 3am we all set off without our gliders to have a summit attempt. Did I say it was windy? Yes it was really windy. We trudged up to about 4300m just below the Dôme du Goûter but had to turn back due to the wind and the fact we couldn't feel our hands and feet anymore.
Great fun with the lads and we did get to fly our gliders a few times although not from the summit. Congratulations to Jay and Tom for getting to the summit a week later. They and Hoppy even managed to fly from the Goûter ridge!