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MONT BLANC 4810m: 5 ROUTES TO THE SUMMIT Damilano 2010 New Edition MULTIPLE COPIES AVAILABLE
By Damilano, Francois
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2010, New edition. 176 pp, color photos and maps. In English. This imported book covers the five classic routes: Gouter route (the ordinary route through the Aiguille du Gouter); Aiguille du Midi traverse; the historical route through the Grands Mulets; the normal Italian (Pope) route; and the Miage-Bionnassay-MontBlanc traverse. The author is a guide based in Chamonix. The book also has advice on gear, huts, and important phone & web addresses.

Mont Blanc is the culminating point (15,782 ft.) of the mountain range of the same name, which forms part of the Pennine Alps, and is divided unequally between France, Italy and Switzerland. The actual highest summit is wholly French and is the loftiest peak in the Alps, and in Europe also, if certain peaks in the Caucasus be excluded. At Geneva the mountain was in former days named the Montagne Maudite, but the present name seems to have been always used locally. On the north is the valley of Chamonix, and on the east the head of the valley of Aosta. Among the great glaciers which stream from the peak the most noteworthy are The Mer de Glace, Bossons and Taconnaz (northern slope) and of Brenva and Miage (southern slope).

The first ascent was made in 1786 by two Chamonix men, Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel Paccard, and the second in 1787 by Balmat with two local men. Later in 1787 H. B. de Saussure made the third ascent, memorable in many respects, and was followed a week later by Colonel Beaufoy, the first Englishman to gain the top. These ascents were all made from Chamonix, which is still the usual starting point, though routes have been forced up the peak from nearly every side, those on the Italian side being much steeper than that from Chamonix.

The ascent from Chamonix is now frequently made in summer (rarely in winter also), but, owing to the great height of the mountain, the view is unsatisfactory, though very extensive (Lyons is visible). In 1890 M. Vallot built an observatory and shelter hut (14,312 ft.) on the Bosses du Dromadaire (north-west ridge of the mountain), and in 1893 T. J. C. Janssen constructed an observatory just below the very summit.


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