The Mont Blanc Specialists
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FAQ

Certain questions about our courses seem to come up all the time and we have tried to answer these as fully as possible below. Click on each title to see the full explanation, and please don't hesitate to contact us if you can't find exactly what you are looking for.




No, Mont Blanc is a lump of ice and rock just like any other. It’s true it does have a reputation as being an easy but unusually dangerous mountain, but it’s actually neither of these things. It’s a relatively straightforward climb if you are a fully experienced alpinist or with a qualified mountain guide – it’s the people trying it who are neither guided nor experienced that make up the vast majority of the accident statistics, and unfortunately there are a lot of people like this on Mont Blanc due to the mountain’s easy accessibility.


The French believe strongly in the freedom of the mountains, and other than checking hut reservations there are no controls on the competency of potential ascensionists. The vast majority of accidents come from the most basic errors and would have been completely avoidable with even minimal training or experience, but the fact that the summit looks down invitingly on Chamonix tempts many complete novices to try their luck.


Most of these novices are not being wilfully irresponsible but rather have no idea of the risks they are taking; if they knew they really were risking their lives, they wouldn’t go. They actually don’t endanger anyone but themselves as rescue services rightly will not set out in dangerous conditions, but unfortunately there are still dozens of serious and easily avoidable accidents on Mont Blanc every year.


Things have improved in recent years with more information available particularly on the Internet but it will always come down to a choice between more freedom/accidents and more regulation and control. Though the latter system would undoubtedly mean more work for professionals, most guides prefer the former more liberal approach– they were enthusiastic amateurs once, after all.


Accidents can happen to experienced parties as well of course and there will always be an element of risk in climbing mountains, but there is no comparison whatsoever between the safety margin of a professionally led party and that of a team of hopelessly under prepared amateurs. One might almost say it is like two different mountains.