Highest peak in Alps

October 21, 2015
Stay in the Bavarian Alps
The rope team with Klaus Dittrich (yellow). The tracks left by the ascent via Dôme du Goûter and Vallot Bivouac is in the background. (Quelle: Julian Rohn)

Pre-Tour Planning a Day Before the Ascent

Journalists Michael Acker (Münchner Merkur) and Julian Rohn (4 Seasons Magazine) were to accompany Klaus Dittrich and Rolf Schmid on their endeavor. On the evening before the planned tour the group meets with three local mountain guides to discuss the ascent. Due to the current weather situation it is decided to climb Mont Blanc in a “one shot ascent”.Passing the Vallot Bivouac (4, 362m). (Quelle: Julian Rohn) All participants feel up to the challenge to overcome a vertical difference of 2, 500 meters in one day.

The Ascent

The rope team with Klaus Dittrich (yellow). The tracks left by the ascent via Dôme du Goûter and Vallot Bivouac is in the background.

Using the Bellevue gondola and the tramway the group arrive at Nid d’Aigle (2, 367 m) and heads towards the Gôuter Refuge (3, 835 m) at 10:00 am, which the alpinists reach at 2:00 pm. Due to technical problems with the cameras mounted on Rolf Schmid’s backpack for the Mammut #project360, the planned rest stop is extended from one to two hours.A break for Rolf Schmid (left) and Klaus Dittrich at the Goûter Refuge (3, 835m). (Quelle: Julian Rohn) Around 4:00 pm, under bright sunshine, the group starts heading towards the peak.

Passing the Vallot Bivouac (4, 362m).

Dramatic Shift in Weather Conditions

The final ascent towards the peak is accompanied by strong winds, and around 7:00 pm the group has to deal with a dramatic shift in weather conditions. Dense fog wafts up from the Italian side, temperatures plummet, and within minutes icy winds cover backpacks and clothing with frost. The ascent can no longer be considered safe, and the mountain guides announce their decision to abort and return to the Gôuter Refuge as quickly as possible.

A break for Rolf Schmid (left) and Klaus Dittrich at the Goûter Refuge (3, 835m).

Descent in the Fog

It is now up to the mountain guides to show their mettle. It is not an easy task to follow the tracks created by the ascent in fog and impending darkness, and to safely descend across the glacial territory. Around 9:00 pm the group reaches the safety of the refuge lodge where the day’s spectacular adventure is discussed while enjoying an energy-replenishing three-course menu.

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