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Skiers Descend North Face of Biggest Peak in the Alps

The north face of Mont Blanc is an often-skied objective. This video documents a spring 2022 descent

Photo by: Brandon Pullan

Two skiers descend Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe at 4,807 metres and is the second-most prominent mountain in Europe, after Mount Elbrus.

Lane Aasen and partner hiked up past the entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel to La Para to put on their skis on at about 1,800 metres. They then followed the path of the old tram up to Gare des Glaciers and traversed to the Glacier des Bossons. After a sketchy crossing of La Jonction on thin snow bridges, they reached the Grand Mulets hut at 8 p.m. after about 2,000 metres of climbing.

“Thankfully it wasn’t too later for dinner and we had some cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti carbonara with a few Alaskans before going to bed,” said Aasen. “We woke up at 3:30 a.m. and started up the climber’s right variation to the Petit Plateau. This route is exposed to some seracs but the hut-keeper says he has only heard of two collapses in ten years.”

They skinned across the Petit Plateau, which is threatened by much more active seracs, and climbed a short step on the climber’s left to gain the Grand Plateau and then headed climber’s left to reach the Col de la Brenva. From there, they climbed a short section of 50 degree ice on the ridge then made a slow high-altitude slog to the summit.

?We skied ice off the summit back down our ascent route and then cut into the North Face where we found some soft snow,” said Aasen. “We stopped to make water and watched as clouds engulfed the summit. The snow quality deteriorated on the rest of the descent and by the bottom it was the worst isothermal mush I have ever skied. Finally, a couple hours of hiking back to Chamonix.”

Mont Blanc Descent

Lead photo: Brandon Pullan