Mont Blanc (French: [mɔ̃ blɑ̃]; Italian: Monte Bianco [ˈmonte ˈbjaŋko]; meanin "White Moontain") is the heichest moontain in the Alps an the heichest in Europe wast o the Caucasus peaks o Roushie an Georgia.[note 1] It rises 4,808 m (15,774 ft) abuin sea level an is ranked 11th in the warld in topographic prominence.[1] The moontain staunds in a range cried the Graian Alps, atween the regions o Aosta Valley, Italy, an Savoie an Haute-Savoie, Fraunce. The location o the summit is on the watershed line atween the valleys o Ferret an Veny in Italy an the valleys o Montjoie, an Arve in Fraunce, in the middle o what is generally conseedert tae be the mairch atween the twa kintras.

Mont Blanc  (French)
Monte Bianco  (Italian)
Mont Blanc depuis Valmorel.jpg
Sooth face o Mont Blanc / Monte Bianco frae Savoie
Heichest pynt
Elevation4,807 m (15,771 ft)
Prominence4,696 m (15,407 ft) 
Ranked 11t
Isolation2,812 kilometres (1,747 mi)
Paurent peakMoont Everest
LeetinKintra heich pynt
Seiven Summits
Coordinates45°50′01″N 006°51′54″E / 45.83361°N 6.86500°E / 45.83361; 6.86500Coordinates: 45°50′01″N 006°51′54″E / 45.83361°N 6.86500°E / 45.83361; 6.86500
Mont Blanc  (French) Monte Bianco  (Italian) is locatit in Alps
Mont Blanc  (French) Monte Bianco  (Italian)
Mont Blanc  (French)
Monte Bianco  (Italian)
Location in the Alps
LocationAosta Valley, Italy
Haute-Savoie, Fraunce
Parent rangeGraian Alps
First ascent8 August 1786 by
Jacques Balmat
Michel-Gabriel Paccard

The Mont Blanc massif is popular for ootdoor activities like hikin, climbin, trail runnin an winter sports like skiin, an snawbuirdin.

The three touns an their communes which surroond Mont Blanc are Courmayeur in Aosta Valley, Italy; an Saint-Gervais-les-Bains an Chamonix in Haute-Savoie, Fraunce. The latter toun wis the site o the first Winter Olympics. A cable car ascends an crosses the moontain range frae Courmayeur tae Chamonix, through the Col du Géant. The 11.6 km (7 14-mile) Mont Blanc Tunnel, constructit atween 1957 an 1965, runs beneath the moontain an is a major trans-Alpine transport route.


Mont Blanc as seen frae Valdigne in Aosta Valley, Italy.

Syne 1760 Swiss naituralist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure bygane tae go tae Chamonix tae observe Mont Blanc [2]. He tried wi the Courmayeur moontain guide Jean-Laurent Jordaney, native o Pré-Saint-Didier, wha accompanied De Saussure syne 1774 on the Miage Glacier an oan mont Crammont.

The first recordit ascent o Mont Blanc (at the time neither within Italy nor France) wis oan 8 August 1786 bi Jacques Balmat an the doctor Michel Paccard. This climb, initiatit by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, wha gave a reward for the successful ascent, tradeetionally merks the stairt o modren moontaineerin.[3] The first woman tae reach the summit wis Marie Paradis in 1808.

Mont Blanc frae the TMB

Nowadays the summit is ascendit bi an average o 20,000 moontainer-tourists each year. It caud be conseedert a technically easy, yet arduous, ascent for someone who is well-trained an acclimatised tae the altitude. Frae l'Aiguille du Midi (where the cable car stops), Mont Blanc seems quite close, bein 1,000 m (3,300 ft) heicher. But while the peak seems deceptively close, La Voie des 3 Monts route (kent tae be mair technical an challenging than ither mair commonly uised routes) requires much ascent ower twa ither 4,000 m moontains, Mont Blanc du Tacul an Mont Maudit, afore the final section o the climb is reached an the last 1,000 m push tae the summit is unner.

Each year climbin daiths occur on Mont Blanc, an oan the busiest weekends, normally aroond August, the local rescue service performs an average o 12 missions, maistly directit tae aid fowk in trouble on ane o the normal routes o the moontain. Some routes require knowledge o heich-altitude mountaineerin, a guide (or at least an experienced mountaineer), an aw require proper equipment. Aw routes are lang an arduous, involvin delicate passages an the hazard o rock-faw or avalanche. Climbers mey awso suffer altitude sickness, occasionally life threatenin, pairticularly if thay do nae acclimatize tae it.[4][5]

Awnership o the summitEedit

1832 Map o the Kinrick o Sardinie showing an admeenistrative mairch passin throu the summit o Mont Blanc. This wis the same map annexed tae the 1860 treaty tae determine the current mairch atween Fraunce an Italy.
Captain Mieulet map o 1865 shawin the border throu Mont Blanc, cried "a historical falsehood" bi Italian historians[6]

The mairch atween Italy an France passes through the summit o Mont Blanc, makin it baith French an Italian.[7][8]

Syne the French Revolution, the issue o the awnership o the summit haes been debated. Frae 1416 tae 1792, the entire moontain wis athin the Duchy o Savoy. In 1723, the Duke o Savoy, Victor Amadeus II, acquired the Kinrick o Sardinia. The resultin state o Sardinie wis tae become preeminent in the Italian unification.[9] In September 1792, the French revolutionary Airmy o the Alps unner Anne-Pierre de Montesquiou-Fézensac seized Savoy without much resistance an creautit a depairtment o the Mont-Blanc. In a treaty o 15 Mey 1796, Victor Amadeus III o Sardinie wis forced tae cede Savoy an Nice to France. In airticle 4 o this treaty it says: "The mairch atween the Sardinie kinrick an the depairtments o the French Republic will be established on a line determined bi the maist advanced pynts on the Piedmont side, o the summits, peaks o moontains an ither locations subsequently mentioned, as weel as the intermediary peaks, knowing: stairtin frae the pynts whur the mairches o Faucigny, the Duchy o Aoust an the Valais, tae the extremity o the glaciers or Monts-Maudits: first the peaks or plateaus o the Alps, tae the risin edge o the Col-Mayor". This act further states that the mairch shoud be visible frae the toun o Chamonix and Courmayeur. Houaniver, neither is the peak o the Mont Blanc visible frae Courmayeur nor is the peak o the Mont Blanc de Courmayeur visible frae Chamonix acause pairt o the moontain lawer doun obscure them.

A Sardinian Atlas map o 1869 shawin the summit lyin twa thirds in Italy an ane third in Fraunce.[10]

Efter the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress o Vienna restored the Keeng o Sardinia in Savoy, Nice an Piedmont, his tradeetional territories, overrulin the 1796 Treaty o Paris. Forty-five years later, efter the Seicont Italian War o Unthirldom, it wis replaced bi a new legal act. This act wis signed in Turin on 24 Mairch 1860 bi Napoleon III an Victor Emmanuel II o Savoy, an deals wi the annexation o Savoy (follaein the French neutrality for the plebiscites held in Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna tae jyne the Kinrick o Sardinie, against the Pope's will). A demarcation agreement, signed on 7 Mairch 1861, defined the new mairch. Wi the formation o Italy, for the first time Mont Blanc wis locatit on the border o Fraunce an Italy.

The 1860 act an attached maps are still legally valid for baith the French an Italian governments.[11] Ane o the prints from the 1823 Sarde Atlas[12] poseetions the border exactly on the summit edge o the moontain (and measures it to be 4,804 m (15,761 ft) high). The convention o 7 Mairch 1861 recognises this throu an attached map, takin intae conseederation the leemits o the massif, an drawing the mairch on the icecap o Mont Blanc, makin it baith French an Italian.[13] Wattershed analysis o modren topographic mapping nae aneli places the main summit oan the border, but awso suggests that the mairch shoud foolae a line northwards frae the main summit towards Mont Maudit, leavin the sootheast ridge tae Mont Blanc de Courmayeur wholly athin Italy.

Awthou the Franco-Italian border wis redefined in baith 1947 an 1963, the commission made up o baith Italians an French ignored the Mont Blanc issue. The area from the Torino Hut tae the summit is unner the control o the Italian authority.[14] NATO uises Italian militar maps tae operate.[15] In the early 21st century, admeenistration o the moontain is shared atween the Italian toun o Courmayeur an the French toun o Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, awtho the lairger pairt of the mountain lies athin the commune of the latter.

In 2015, press reports suggestit that claims bi Italian moontaineers sn cartographers on the disputit territory wur still ongangin.[16]


Vallot refuge near Mont Blanc summit, at an altitude of 4,362 m

The first professional scientific investigations oan the summit wur conductit bi the botanistmeteorologist Joseph Vallot at the end o the 19th century. He wantit tae stay near the tap o the summit, so he biggit his awn permanent cabin.

Janssen observatoryEedit

In 1890, Pierre Janssen, an astronomer an the director o the Meudon astrophysical observatory, conseedert the construction o an observatory at the summit o Mont Blanc. Gustave Eiffel agreed tae take oan the project, providit he caud build on a rock foondation, if foond at a depth o less than 12 m (39 ft) belaw the ice. In 1891, the Swiss surveyor Imfeld dug twa 23-metre-long (75 ft) horizontal tunnels 12 m belaw the ice summit but foond nothin solit. Consequently, the Eiffel project wis abandoned.

Despite this, the observatory wis biggit in 1893. Durin the cauld wave o Januar 1893, a temperatur o −43 °C (−45 °F) wis recordit on Mont Blanc, being the lowest ever recorded there.

Levers attached tae the ice supportit the observatory. This wirked tae some extent until 1906, when the biggin stairtit leanin heivily. The muivement o the levers correctit the lean slichtly, but three years later (twa years after Janssen's daith), a crevasse stairtit openin unner the observatory. It wis abandoned. Eventually the biggin fell, an anelie the touer cauld be saved in extremis.[17]

Air crashesEedit

The moontain wis the scene o twa fatal air crashes; Air Indie Flicht 245 in 1950[18] and Air India Flight 101 in 1966. Baith planes wur approachin Geneva Airport an the pilots miscalculatit thair descent; 48 an 117 fowk, respectively, died.[19] The latter passengers includit nuclear scientist Homi J. Bhabha, kent as the "father" o Indie's nuclear programme.[20]


Main airticle: Mont Blanc Tunnel
Entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel in Italy.

In 1946, a drilling project wis initiatit tae carve a tunnel throu the moontain. The Mont Blanc tunnel waud connect Chamonix, Fraunce an Courmayeur, Italy, an become ane o the major trans-Alpine transport routes atween the twa kintras. In 1965, the tunnel opened tae vehicle traffic wi a length o 11,611 metres (7.215 mi).[21]

1999 disasterEedit

Main airticle: Mont Blanc Tunnel Fire

In 1999, a transport truck caught fire in the tunnel beneath the moontain. In total 39 fowk wur killed when the fire raged oot of control. The tunnel wis renovatit in the eftermath tae increase driver safety, reopenin efter three years.[22]

Incidents involving childrenEedit

The record for the youngest person tae climb Mont Blanc wis set in 2009 bi 10-year-old Asher Silver (UK).[23]

In Julie 2014, an American entrepreneur an traveler Patrick Sweeney attemptit tae break the record wi his nine-year-old son P.J. an 11-year-old daughter Shannon. Thay wur caught in avalanche, luckily escaped daith an decidit nae tae pursue their attempt.[23][24]

In August 2014, an unient Austrick climber wi his 5-year-old son were interceptit bi moontain gendarmes at 3,200 metres an forced tae turn around.[25]

On 5 August 2017, 9-year-old Hungarian twins an thair mither wis rescued frae 3,800 metres bi helicopter while thair father an faimily friend continued thair summit attempt.[26]


  1. The Caucasus watershed haes conventionally been uised as the boondary atween Europe an Asie syne the mid-19th century. The Caucasus haes a nummer o peaks higher than Mont Blanc aither merkin the Roushie-Georgie border or juist athin Roushie (Moont Elbrus in the North Caucasus at 5641 m is the tallest in Europe when includin the Caucasus).


  1. the prominence of 4,696 m for Mont Blanc is taken frae the "Ultras Project" (, "List compiled 2004 by Petter Bjørstad, Jonathan de Ferranti, Eberhard Jurgalski, Vasja Kavcic and Aaron Maizlish". See also list of Alpine peaks by prominence.
  2. André Fournier, Mer de Glace, La Fontaine de Siloé, Montmélian, 2005, ISBN 978-2-8420-6256-9.
  3. Green, Stewart. "Facts About Mont Blanc — Highest Mountain in Western Europe". Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  4. Muza, SR; Fulco, CS; Cymerman, A (2004). "Altitude Acclimatization Guide". US Army Research Inst. Of Environmental Medicine Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division Technical Report (USARIEM-TN-04-05). Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  5. Cymerman, A; Rock, PB. "Medical Problems in High Mountain Environments. A Handbook for Medical Officers". USARIEM-TN94-2. US Army Research Inst. of Environmental Medicine Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division Technical Report. Retrieved 5 March 2009. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. La disfida del Monte Bianco(in Italian).
  8. "FICHE QUESTION". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  9. "A new map of the dominions of the King of Sardinia. (with) Isle and kingdom of Sardinia. (with) Mont Blanc in Faucigni and the subjacent Alps and glaciers. From the original published at Turin with royal approbation, and dedicated to his Sardinian Majesty. By Francis de Caroly; translated with improvements and additions. London, Published by Laurie & Whittle, 53, Fleet Street, 12th May, 1799. Engrav'd by B. Baker, Islington. - David Rumsey Historical Map Collection". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  10. The map is based on measurements taken in 1856 afore the convention o 7 Mairch 1861, an is identical tae the map attached tae the Treaty o Turin. See IGN
  11. "FICHE QUESTION". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  12. Image:1823 Mont Blanc 1.jpg
  14. "Italia contro Francia la guerra del Monte Bianco".
  15. "Italia-Francia, il duello dei confini sulla cima del Monte Bianco".
  16. Mont Blanc controversy: French suffer a fit of pique as Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest mountain - Neighbours bicker about where the border should run around famous mountain
  17. Janssen et l'observatoire du sommet du mont Blanc (1893-1909), JM. Malherbe, Observatoire de Paris, section de Meudon
  18. The glacier des Bossons : plane crashes: Archived 20 Juin 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  19. "1966: 117 die in Air India tragedy". 23 October 1966. Retrieved 23 October 2017 – via
  20. "Diplomatic bag contents revealed". 19 September 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2017 – via
  21. "Timeline of the Mont Blanc Tunnel". Archived frae the oreeginal on 4 Januar 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  22. "Mont Blanc Tunnel". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Lizzie Dearden (28 Julie 2014). "American climber whose children almost died in Mont Blanc avalanche says he has 'no regrets' amid criticism". The Independent. Archived frae the oreeginal on 28 October 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  24. Constance Jamet (2014-07-28). "La présence d'enfants alpinistes sur le Mont-Blanc scandalise". Le Figaro (in French). Archived frae the oreeginal on 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  25. Kim Willsher (2014-08-13). "Bodies of five climbers found on Mont Blanc after six go missing". The Guardian. Archived frae the oreeginal on 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  26. Nelly Assénat (2017-08-10). "Ils tentent de gravir le Mont-Blanc avec leurs jumeaux de 9 ans" (in French). France Bleu. Archived frae the oreeginal on 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-09-09.

Freemit airtinsEedit