Mont-Blanc Traverse from East to West

 

Wednesday, the 6th May 2015.

                      The mountains are filled with beauty, not just tragedy !

Two mountain guides, members of the Peakpowder team, completed the traverse of the Mont-Blanc range. A mix of mountaineering, backcountry ski touring and steep skiing. The protagonists are Fred BERNARD (from Chamonix- Le Tour) on skis and Laurent BIBOLLET (from Les Contamines-Montjoie) on a splitboard.

image: 
Tondu-Mont-Blanc.  Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Arete Bosses, Mont-Blanc. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Les Courtes, Mont Blanc Massif. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Les Courtes, Mont Blanc Massif. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Laurent BIBOLLET. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Mont-Blanc traverse. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Couloir Fynn-Biselx. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Mont-Blanc traverse. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Mont-Blanc traverse. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Mont-Blanc traverse. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Chalets de Miage. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
 Fred Bernard. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard
Couloir Fynn-Biselx. Photo Credits: P. Arpin, D. Deschamps, B. Delapierre, F. Bernard

Leaving the village of Le Tour by foot on April 20th, they reached Les Contamines April 27th.

8 days of high altitude adventure, completing the loop by bike. Flexibility is key, adjusting the choice of their lines to the snow and weather conditions and keeping their personal safety in mind. They started by linking together the Albert 1er mountain hut with the ascent and ski descent of the Fynn-Biselx Couloir in the Aiguilles Dorées to then reach the Argentière mountain hut.

From there, they climbed the North East route on the Courtes and due to poor snow conditions in the Angélique Couloir, they traversed the Courtes ridge & skied down to the Talèfre glacier and on to the Géant glacier. From here they skinned up the Vallée Blanche to the Cosmiques hut. Skiing the Glacier Rond line shortened the access to the Grands Mulets hut. The adventure continued, with the ascent of Mont Blanc via the North ridge of Dôme and the Bosses ridge. A 3400m run took the team from the summit of the Mont Blanc to the village of Bionnassay – skiing down the Bosses ridge, the Dôme du Goûter & the East face of Aiguillle du Goûter. From Bionnassay more climbing before reaching the comfor of the Chalets de Miage hut.

Heavy rainfall the following morning meant a change in the plan. Rather than staying in higher alititudes, the team used hiking paths, then finished by skinning up to the Tré la Tête hut. From here the last objective of the traverse was at their doorstep : the Mont Tondu. A windslab took them by surprise just under its summit. Not too serious and no collateral damage, but both riders felt a moment of anxiety !

The adventure came to an end when reaching Laurent’s home in Le Cugnon. Yet, there was still one last part of challenge to complete : the bike ride back up to the village of Le Tour. Fred put his skis on his pack and Laurent saddled up for the uphill ride to Le Tour. A successful traverse, with both guides pleased to have accomplisehd this adventure with so little impact on the environment. Only their tracks can be seen in the mountains, the memories remain engraved in their minds forever.

A big thanks goes out to their partners : Patagonia, Black Diamond Equipment, Cegelec Mobility, EGPJ & POP.

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