You’re all set to explore the Alps, now what? Why not add some substance to the reel of Mont Blanc-related daydreams twirling your mind by checking out some interesting facts about the Tour du Mont Blanc? If you don’t have time to read them now, keep the tab open and check them out later. It’s always fun to peer deeper into your adventure destination!
1. The Tour du Mont Blanc breaks down into 11 stages
The Tour du Mont Blanc breaks down into 11 stages, granting most the chance to complete one section per day, and the trail winds around the summit. This is typical. What’s not so typical? Pierre-André Gobet, a Swiss climber, hiking to the actual summit and completing the round trip from Chamonix in just over five hours (via the Church Summit and Church Route). Not too long after, Kilian Jornet ascended and descended in just under five hours.
Don’t expect to climb to the peak of Mont Blanc on the Tour du Mont Blanc. You’ll circle around it instead!
2. Both France and Italy own Mont Blanc
Italians call it Monte Bianco. However, the highest summit of Mont Blanc is in France. The tallest Italian peak, Monte Bianco di Courmayeur, sits 100ft below.
3. The temperatures on Mont Blanc can change drastically
The temperature can fluctuate, making it essential to consider quintessential Tour du Mont Blanc packing tips before you go. In January 1893, the temperature dropped to a biting -43° on Mont Blanc. You may be thinking, “Well that was so long ago, it won’t happen again, right?” Think again. The temperature elevated to a blistering 36° in Chamonix in June 2019. Trekking in a sweltering plus-30° heat can be challenging, especially for those dwelling in Frozen-like scenery most of the year.
Sure, the weather likely will not (never say never) drop to -40° in the summer, but it’s still essential to consider every season and the weather each month brings. Good thing we talk about this in our article, explaining the best time of year to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Okay, moving on from that lecture–back to the fun facts about the Tour du Mont Blanc.
4. Mont Banc is the 5th tallest peak in Europe
Mont Blanc ranks as the 5th tallest peak in Europe and the highest in Western Europe, soaring at 15777ft as of 2017. Yet, the measurement changes from year to year due to the snow piling up on the top.
5. Mont Blanc was first summited in 1786
Important milestones: In 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard became the first people to summit Mont Blanc. Fast forward to 1808, when Maria Paradis found herself atop the peak—and was the first woman to do so!
6. A group of trekkers had a jacuzzi party at the summit of Mont Blanc
A group of trekkers had a jacuzzi party at the Mont Blanc summit in 2007! Can you imagine popping some champagne while your tired body soaks in hot water while layers and layers of snow-capped peaks bombard your line of vision? Talk about an adventure to remember. The group distributed the weight, resulting in everyone carrying around 45 pounds! Keep in mind that the jacuzzi company acknowledged that this event may have caused a bit of a ruckus for fellow trekkers outside of the group.
7. There’s an automotive tunnel that cuts through the base of the mountain
In 1965, an automotive tunnel, Mont Blanc Tunnel, connecting Chamonix and Courmayeur, opened up. The tunnel dips under Mont Blanc and stretches for 7.3mi. Unfortunately, in 1999, a two-day fire killed 39 people, causing the tunnel to close and reopen—much to the public’s disdain—in 2002.
8. The first Winter Olympic Games were held near Mont Blanc
Chamonix, situated at Mont Blanc’s foot, became the first city to host the Winter Olympic Games back in 1924.
9. The Mont Blanc Massif is very old
The Mont Blanc Massif began to form 15 million years ago. Can you imagine a world without Mont Blanc? We can’t either!
10. The Tour du Mont Blanc is the most popular long-distance route in Europe
The Tour du Mont Blanc is the most popular long-distance route in Europe; booking early is essential to ensure you get the refuges you want. Our article on securing accommodation along the Tour du Mont Blanc sheds more light on where to book! But, of course, you could always book a Mont Blanc adventure tour if you aren’t in the mood to book your accommodation.
Okay, that’s all we have for interesting facts—now time to go back to packing and preparing for your trip!