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Will Corder & Trefor Evans

Just to let you know that Trefor and I made the summit of Mont Blanc at 6am yesterday morning (Sep 22nd 2006). Unfortunately our charity bid only had a 50% success rate as Alex picked up a nasty flu bug last week and just wasn’t able to shake it. She got through all the gruelling training this week but the guide decided he couldn’t risk taking her up there. The weather was showing such a high level of wind that it would mean that there would be no mountain rescue as helicopters couldn’t land, so he didn’t want to take the chance of Alex getting really ill and having no way to get her off the mountain!  And we couldn’t wait a few days for her to recover as the weather was closing in so yesterday was the only real window to get up there.  She was so gutted after those months of training in the rain and snow but there you go.   

Thankfully Alex didn’t pass the bug on to me, so Tref and I were able to give it a go. What wasn’t explained to us was how difficult the climb to the overnight refuge was. We started with a reasonably easy three hour hike up through the glacial moraines. At this point we donned our crampons and ice axe and headed towards a sheer looking cliff with the refuge perched on top. Tref and I both assumed there must be an easier way round the back, but instead we headed straight for the 600m almost vertical cliff. The guide suggested scrabbling up with out ropes, but after the first few certain death looking drops we quickly tied ourselves to him.

After scaling the rock face we spent a few sleepless hours in the refuge at 3700M before kitting up for a 2am start. From there on up we were in the dark in the freezing cold and on the glacier amongst crevasses and shear icy drops. Thankfully our previous training had served us well and we made slow but steady progress upwards. Unfortunately the final casualty of our original group of 5 had to stop in one of the higher refuges due to altitude sickness. From that point despite the increasing wind Tref and I pushed on up the knife edge ridge to the peak at 4880M just in time for sunrise.

 Despite a few scary moments on the down climb from the overnight refuge, our descent to the valley was long but reasonably straight forward. We managed to get back to the Vagabond by 4 in the afternoon for a well earned beer.

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