by Luka Strazar
It's a proper journey over the mountain and through all disciplines of climbing techniques and skills. Climbing and moving on technical ground must run smoothly, so good understanding between climbing partners is essential. A perfect husband and wife route then.
Planning is an important part of the game. Tactics, gear, clothes, food,… Taking too much with you slows you down, being very slow is dangerous. So you try to find a balance between traveling light and the right level of comfort or with other words, a still tolerable level of discomfort. So since spooning is completely ok when being married we decided not to take sleeping bags and mattresses. A puff jacket and isolated pants will have to suffice, for a short nap.
At 1 am we started from Val Veny. Going past the Borelli hut, climbing started still in complete darkness. The morning sun found us somewhere halfway through countless rock pitches of perfect granite spires and towers of Aiguille Noire de Peuterey.
It was shortly after 2 o clock in the afternoon when we first so the virgin Mary. The small statue marks the summit of Aiguille Noire de Peuterey. Going down from there, around 15 abseils is waiting for you, if you want to reach Des Dames Anglaises. A part of the ridge known for its poor rock quality, which demands a sharp mind and strong nerves. Going up and down is a sequence you repeat a few times before you reach the bivouac. It was about time for dinner and a short three hour nap.
At midnight a chilly air and a shot of caffeine propelled us of. Searching for best passages of Pointe Gugliermina we kept ourselves busy. The sunrise felt slower than we would want it to be and after reaching the top of Aiguille Blanche we could finally sit down and harvest some proper warmth from the first sun rays.
Our legs were not as fresh anymore, but a good motivation was the face of Grand pilier d’Angle. During the day the face comes alive due to warmer temperatures. It produces projectiles of all sorts, so you want to climb it in the morning or late afternoon. After that you reach the final slopes of Mont Blanc de Courmayeur. Rolling over the small summit cornice we decided to take a rest. We left the true summit of Mont to the crowds and enjoyed the calmness and view towards Grand Paradiso.
After around 36 hours we walked over the top of Mont Blanc, took a quick photo and started descending towards Chamonix. 3800m of descent towards the valley dragged and our feet began to object, but the mantra was that if we stop we won’t be any closer to the end and our muscles would still hurt. It worked out well, in Les Houches we caught final 10 minutes of store’s opening hours. Getting a ride to Chamonix and a place to stay the night with tired mind was quite a mental challenge, that’s already another story.
All in all, a great journey!
P.S. A few weeks later Luka repeated the ridge together with Nejc Marčič in a 22 hours trip from Val Veny to Les Houches. They needed 15 hours from the start of the route to the top of Mont Blanc.