The Mont Blanc in the French Alps
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe. First ascent, on the 8th of August 1786 by a local crystal hunter, Jacques Balmat and a local doctor, Michel Gabriel Paccard.
They claimed the prize money that Horace Benedict de Saussure had offered in 1760.
People had been trying for years but the breakthrough didn't come until the June of 1786 when Jacques Balmat was trapped out overnight on the glacier, AND SURVIVED; thereby destroying local myths and proving that a 2-day ascent was feasible.
Nowadays, in summer, their exploit is repeated by as many as 200 people a day.
The speed record was held for 23 years by the Swiss P.A. Gobet.
He ran from the centre of Chamonix to the summit and back in 5hr 10min! That all changed on 11 July 2013 when the spaniard Kilian Jornet broke the old record with a time of 4hours 57 minutes.
Most mortals take 2 days and use lifts and trains to cheat for the first few thousand metres!
Climbing Mont Blanc
A beautiful and very complex mountain. It's most commonly climbed by guided parties using one of two routes, the Normal route (Gouter route) or the Three Monts Route (Cosmiques route). Read more.