My journey to Mont Blanc
The 25th of September 2016 is the really important day for me, because it's the day when I climbed Mont Blanc. First time (ever) in mountains I was on Turbacz mountain in December 2015. Travel to mountains was totally spontaneous decision, because I was never into them. I had more than 1 week vacations and I didn't have idea what to do with it. My friend Ela advised me to try my strengths with Gorce mountains. I can say that I've fallen in love with first summiting :)
Conquering the summit is the incredible feeling, but joy from the journey has been the form of therapy for me. It has raised my self-esteem.
After conquering the highest peak in Poland (Rysy) I told to myself that before I have 30 years old I will stand on Mont Blanc. Right before summer I had a crazy idea to cycle from Krakow to Hel (803 km) and after coming back conquer Mont Blanc.
I've managed to cycle to Hel in 5 and half day, but after coming back I had doubts that "I have to write my Master's thesis", "Winter is coming, I need to save money for heating the house", "I have to buy TV".
I've written my Master's thesis. I've managed to pay my bills. I bought TV and I travelled to Alps. Everything is manageable. I packed sausages and jelly beans and I started my journey.
To not bother longer let's come back to the trip.
Big packing at 12 o'clock at night.
We met at 2 am the 21st of September. Guys (Aleks and Aliszer) came for me and Bartek (who my friend was) by car. We've met on travel fanpage on Facebook.
Both with Bartek we went inside the super exclusive Aliszer's Lexus. A trunk was full by our backpacks. You weren't able to put there even a finger. Of course, soon after riding away I started being hungry, but food was on the botton of my backpack, so I ate only in Stuttgart.
Whole trip to France was very peaceful and playful. Guys were speaking in Russian, but I was ok with it. I understood a little bit.
The first bigger stop was in Stuttgart as I mentioned before. We ate a dinner. We bought Russian vodka. Another bigger stop was in the Switzerland in the beautiful Lausanne city. We didn't plan to stop there, but when we saw the beautiful HUGE lake at the foot of Alps we couldn't resist!
We were sitting there for a 1 hour just relaxing and admiring the view. After a while we needed to go further.
We drove to Chamonix after sunset. Unfortunately, we couldn't see Mont Blanc as it was hidden by clouds and fog. We started looking for a place to sleep.
We drove to Les Houches to the only open campsite at this time of year. Unfortunately the owner (old grandma) didn't speak English at all. We decided to sleep in forest.
We woke up in the morning at 6 am and we started our journey to the first shelter Tete Rousse where we had plan to bivouac.
Really fast coffee and breakfast. We parked in Les Houches and we started walking. We met Polish girls who just came back from the summit. They told us that's a pity that we need to go there. Good motivation is always very well welcome...especially at the beginning.
We left parking at 10 am. It was soooo hoot and my backpack was sooo heavyy.
Firstly we were walking through forests and fields. Then we started walking along the railroad tracks. The heat was so awful and my boots were too heavy for that kind of "no snow walk". But..the view was so beautiful...The weather was wonderful.
Further road was simple and monotonous. While walking along the railroad tracks we split up with Aleks and Aliszer. Then I didn't have idea that I see them for the last time until we come down.
After finishing the railway tracks we went inside the "chamois valley". They were everywhere. Big rocks, thick fog and scary chamois. It was scarier than the Rolling Stones Kuluar.
We started being really tired. The backpack was so heavy. We went into the snow and ice land. We started climbing on huge rocks. After 10 hours (since we left parking) we managed to arrive to Tete Rousse, first shelter. We pitched a tent and we went sleep.
My sleeping bag and tent turned out to be not appropriate for that kind of adventure. I was freezing during the night. At that time I didn't have idea yet what the freeze means.
We woke up later than we planned. We could see climbers in the distance. Incredible view.
During the night I couldn't sleep as I was feeling really awful. It turned out that I got mountain sickness. I couldn't eat and I had dizziness. I started eating Diuramid medicine, but it didn't help. The higher I climbed the worse I felt.
Let's come back to the journey. In a half hour time we climbed to the famous Rolling Stones Kuluar. We had luck, because we were in the season while rocks were very good frozen and they weren't falling down.
After passing by Kuluar we started our 3 hour climbing on really steep rocks. We came to Gouter shelter. We decided to go to the summit without acclimatisation. The weather was sooo beautiful. I didn't want to miss the view from the summit.
It started really innocently, but when I saw the first huge gap in glacier I started feeling a little bit unconfident. I forgot to mention that we left our line and sleeping bags in the tent as it was too heavy. It was a mistake, because if we fall into a gap in glacier we could die.
I started feeling really bad due to the mountain sickness. We came to the Valot (a metal shelter without heating) and we decided to sleep there...without sleeping bags. It was a nightmare. The worst night in my life. There was -20, -24 degrees inside. I really thought that I will die this night. I was warming up my hands, feet and chest for whole night without sleeping for a second.
Right before dawn we left Valot and started climbing Mont Blanc. I had the biggest headache ever. I thought that my brain will explode. I was falling down every 5 minutes. I couldn't breathe normally and my heart was beating like crazy.
To make things worse I needed to jump through the gap in glacier and climb a vertical ice wall. But I did it. I conquered Mont Blanc and I got the most beautiful view and the weather ever! It was my reward. I felt like a billionaire. I cannot compare this feeling to any other. I called my family. After 1 hour chillout it was time for coming back. I thought that going down is easier, but I was wrong. My organism was going crazy. Bartek started having hallucinations. I don't how, but we managed to go down. While passing forests and field the next day, my feet were so tired that I was walking barefoot.
After visiting Chamonix we came back to home very proudly.
I would like to give you a message to treat this story like a lesson "How to NOT climb Mont Blanc". Don't get me wrong. It was the most incredible adventure in my life. I was the happiest man on Earth when I was standing there. But, prepare yourself for this trip if Mont Blanc is your dream.
Remember about those things:
- A really good sleeping bag for -20, -25 degrees strength. Do not leave it anywhere!
- Appropriate clothes for that kind of trips: A jacket with a membrane, the best option is Gore-tex, down jacket or vest, trekking pants, thermal underwear, Merino socks, high-mountain boots (the most important in my opinion) - I recommend La Sportiva, Zamberlan, Meindl,
- A helmet,
- A harness,
- A lunge,
- Glacial glasses (you can go bling without them),
- Stuff needed for rescue a person who fall into the gap in glacier,
- A tent,
- A pickaxe,
- A turist cooker,
- A map,
- Gloves with Gore-tex membrane,
- Spare money for emergency accommodation or food in shelter,
- Appropriate training to know how to use above stuff,
- Monitoring the weather all the time,
- Precise learning your route and read opinions in internet,
- High-calorie food,
- Appropriate climbing, condition and strength training,
- Common sense.
After watching the movie play the song to feel the story better.