Thinking of climbing Mont Blanc this year? Here is some information to help you train and prepare for the highest mountain in the alps.
How fit do I need to be?
Mont Blanc requires over 1600 metres of ascent on summit day depending on the route you choose. This is like hiking Snowdon twice. Not forgetting the altitude.
You will also be wearing heavy boots, crampons and ice axe and a small rucksack with essential items.
What exercises should I do to train for Mont Blanc?
It important to be doing lots of cardiovascular exercise like running and hiking. As an impact exercise these will help develop bone density and specific muscle groups needed for mountaineering. Being on your feet all day can also be a challenge when unaccustomed to it . Spending some longer days out in the hills will help you build a level of resilience.
It is also useful to include some strength training into your plan. This will help build strength endurance and engage stabilising muscles. These help keep good posture, help prevent injury when carrying rucksacks up and down hills over long distances. Most of all though it improves our economy over long distances.
How often should I train?
Training for Mont Blanc requires 3-4 cardiovascular workouts each week which could include a mixture of running hiking, swimming or cycling.
Planning some trips to the mountains will really help you build mountain endurance. Plan some multi day trips to Wales or the Lake District to get some long mountain days under your belt.
Plus 1-2 strength workouts depending on your other activities. You may decide to stop strength training nearer the departure date to focus on cardiovascular.
What skills do I need?
Mont Blanc is known as a non technical peak (depending on the route you choose). However even for a non technical routes you will need to know how to use crampons and ice axe effectively. Some basic rope work would be useful and knowing how to tie a figure of eight.
Some of the ground covered is steep; so having some experience of scrambling will really help. Check out popular scrambles in the Lakes and Wales to help prepare your mental game.
Should I hire a guide?
If this is your first time in the alps then hire a guide. The route can be very busy and hard going so having a professional guide will make sure you come back safely.