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.




In thirteen years of operation and over two thousand seven hundred clients to date, the worst accidents so far were a broken wrist after a fall on a footpath, and a broken ankle after tripping over crampons during a crampon training exercise. (last update end of season 2016)


This was one incident in 2013 and one in 2014, prior to that it was only cuts, bruises, and sprains. We usually have one or two precautionary helicopter evacuations for altitude sickness each year, but the victim has always recovered extremely fast, often before the helicopter reaches the valley. Our full accident history excluding (fully recovered from) altitude sickness, sprains, cuts, bruises etc. is shown below, and any future incidents will also be reported here:



Accident History 2004 – present (2016):


2009: Guide suffered broken rib and considerable cuts and bruises after fall on steep snow descent gulley; he was lucky not to have been more seriously injured. All guides subsequently instructed to avoid this gulley. No clients involved.


2011: Suspecting rock fall and therefore having left clients in the Tete Rousse hut for a “guides only” reconnaissance of the Grand Couloir, a guide was subsequently hit in the leg whilst still a long way from the couloir after a very large rock fall from below the Gouter hut. This rock fall was of an unprecedented size and even reached the camp site above the Tete Rousse hut. The guide sustained major bruising to his leg but fully recovered in a few days. No clients involved.


2013: Client tripped and fell breaking his wrist on the footpath just below the hut on Gran Paradiso whilst descending back to the valley.


2014: Client suffered broken ankle after tripping over crampons during crampon training exercise on the Mer de Glace glacier.
     
   


Safety is absolutely paramount to us, and we consider our safety record as infinitely more important than our summiting record. We do not hesitate to turn back in marginal conditions or with overly tired clients, as even experts can come unstuck if they push the limits often enough. All our guides carry radios that allow them to talk to the rescue services or each other at any time and wherever they are on the mountain, this being particularly important due to the many areas still without mobile phone reception. Radios also make it much easier to change teams around if anyone is having a problem and needs to go down.


Accidents are always a possibility in the mountains, and the fact that an operator has had one does not in any way mean they are a bad operator as unfortunately it can happen to the best of us; to be clear most well known operators probably have safety records similar to ours. We are however very proud of our accident record to date and maintaining this standard will always be our top priority.