Good to Know

History

It reads like a book...

1626 : THE ACCURSED MOUNTAINS

UA description by Pierre d'Avity «The country’s highest mountain is called The Accursed One by the inhabitants because of its perpetual glacial snow...
It is so prominent that it can be seen as far away as Lyons. »

1650 : LITTERARY ORIGINS

Mont Blanc’s first appearance in literature. The novel of Mademoiselle de Scudery, « Artamène or Cyrus the Great » states:

« Beyond the prairies, we see a mountain range that rises up one upon the other, seems to reach right to the clouds, this mountain that touches the sky is Mont Blanc »

1682 : FIRST ILLUSTRATION

First known drawing of Mont Blanc, an engraving by Jean de Ram Theatrum Sabaudiae.

1741 : FIRST TOURISTS

These were the Englishmen Windham and Pocoke accompanied by a few friends. This was the first sightseeing tourist visit. Their narrative spurred the interest that would bring the world to the high mountain peaks.

1760 : A CHALLENGE IS BORN

The Geneva scholar Horace Bénédict de Saussure offers a sumptuous reward to whoever treads Mont Blanc’s undefiled summit.

August 8th 1786 : FIRST ASCENT

By Michel Gabriel Paccard and Jacques Balmat. Starting at around 4 a.m. from an encampment on the summit of the Côte Mountain.

At 6:23 p.m., Balmat and Paccard are seen reaching the top, then at 7 p.m. they begin their descent. Back to their previous morning’s bivouac before midnight. All agree that this ascension marks the birth of mountaineering.

1796 : MONT BLANC IS FRENCH

The Savoy became French for some time, following the Treaty of Paris.

July 14th 1808 : FIRST ASCENT OF A WOMAN

Marie Paradis, a young Chamonix girl, strongly assisted by her guides, including Jacques Balmat, becomes the first female to climb Mont Blanc.

1814 : THE MONT BLANC IS SARDINIAN

Treaty of Paris : the Savoy and Mont Blanc are once again part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.

August 20th, 1820 : FIRST FATAL ACCIDENT

The expedition of Dr. Hamel is working its way up the slopes above the Red Rocks when it is overwhelmed by an avalanche, 5 guides are swept away by the snowslide, 3 men could neither be rescued nor recovered.

1821 : CREATION OF THE MOUNTAIN GUIDE COMPANY OF CHAMONIX

It is the oldest and the largest mountaineering guide company in the world.

1855: FIRST PHOTOGRAPH

Martens displays the first picture of Mont Blanc on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition.

1858 : GOUTER REFUGE

Construction of the first Gouter refuge (3817m)

1890 : VALLOT OBSERVATORY

The first observatory which also served as a refuge was built at the request of the municipality of Chamonix. Financed personally by Joseph Vallot, it was built at the foot of the « Arête des Bosses ».

1914 : FLYOVER IN A PLANE

First flyover made in a Perdussin single-seater plane by A. Parmelin from Geneva. (5540 m).

1915 : CINEMA IN MONT BLANC

First film shots from the top were taken by F. Burlingham.

1922 : CHAMONIX-MONT-BLANC

By an administrative decision, the municipality of Chamonix is authorized to associate its name with the mountain to which it owes so much.

1945 : THE SHARING OF THE MOUNTAIN

The new land register is published. The slopes of Mont-Blanc are allocated as such : the summit is in Chamonix to the north and Saint Gervais to the south-west. Rumor has it that this distribution was very difficult.

November 5th 1950 : the MALABAR

The Malabar Princess of the Air India Company crashed near the top with its 48 passengers.

May 30th 1959 : THE TUNNEL UNDER...

Commencement of the construction of the tunnel under Mont Blanc. It was inaugurated on July 16, 1965 by General de Gaulle and the Italian President Mr. Saragat.

July 20th 1990: THE RECORD

The long-distance runner Pierre-André Gobet starts his ascent at 5 a.m. to take advantage of the morning freshness and firmer ice for the climb and slightly softer for the descent. At 10:10 he makes it back down to the Chamonix Church. Time: 5 hours 10 minutes and 14 seconds.

Altitude

Wow, that’s high!

For its tenth anniversary, the Mont Blanc measurement campaign, initiated in 2001 by the Upper-Savoy surveyors, established that the official elevation of the highest peak of the Alps was 4810.44 m on September 11, 2011.

Geography

The roof of Europe

Mont Blanc towers over the heart of the Mont Blanc range of mountains and is the highest point of the Alps. It is also the highest peak in Western Europe, which earned it the nickname of roof of Europe. It straddles across both France and Italy, south of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and northwest of Courmayeur.

Geology

Snow... rock... and ice

Mont Blanc is representative of the geology of the mountain range. It is located at the junction of two crystalline rock masses consisting of granite dating from the carboniferous period to the east and gneiss to the west. The summit itself, completely covered in snow, most definitely consists of gneiss.

More about mont Blanc

Webcams mont blanc :

more Mont Blanc webcams

Mont Blanc climbing:

information, routes and itineraries

Tour du mont Blanc :

prepare your hike around the mont Blanc

Mont Blanc flyover:

helicopter with CMBH company

Mont Blanc tunnel :

crossing the Alps under the mont Blanc

Ultratrail du mont Blanc :

mythical race of 168km around the mont Blanc

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