SAFETY UPDATE: MONT BLANC ON SKIS VIA THE GRANDS MULETS
After the miracle of last weekend, two people were less lucky and sadly lost their lives very early this morning (19 April) following a serac fall on the Petit Plateau. The toll could easily have been much worse as there were forty people on the route at the time.
- The plateau route is highly exposed to serac falls. The only way to protect yourself is not to expose yourself to it.
- There is an alternative route to the ascent, admittedly longer and more technical but safer: the north arete of the Dôme du Goûter (unfortunately used by less than 20% of teams, often due to a lack of technical skill). The N ridge is currently tracked with 5-6m of ice on the exit (possibly blue ice) and can be done by all those who have the necessary skill and kit.
- Mont Blanc on skis is a serious ski mountaineering route that is done in winter, in the high mountains. It is long and high, it is cold and often windy, the objective risks (crevasses, seracs, avalanches) are present all along the route, the ski descent is done in all types of snow. It is only for experienced ski-mountaineers who are physically and mentally prepared and adequately equipped (notably to protect themselves from the cold and wind and to do the ice pitches: proper steel crampons are necessary for the N ridge of the Dome and the Bosses ridge).
Translated with permission from an original report by La Chamoniarde.