The Challenge

Mont Blanc meaning “White Mountain”, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe after the Caucasus peaks.  It rises 4,808.73 m (15,777 ft) above sea level.  The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on 8th August 1786 and nowadays the summit is reached by an average of 20,000 climbers each year.  Each year, climbing deaths occur on Mont Blanc, and on the busiest weekends, normally around August, the local rescue service performs an average of 12 missions, mostly in aid of people in trouble on one of the normal routes up the mountain.  Some courses require knowledge of high-altitude mountaineering, a guide (or at least an experienced mountaineer), and need the proper equipment.  All routes are long and arduous, involving delicate passages.  At least one night at a high mountain refuge is required to help acclimatise to the altitude.

The Team will travel to Geneva on 5th June 2017 arriving in Chamonix later that day.  We will then have a ten-day window during which we will complete our challenge, flying home on the 15th.  It is our intention to spend at least two days sorting out our kit and equipment and conduct any final planning and rehearsals that may be required before making an attempt.  The exact route we will take is yet to be decided and will depend on the abilities of Andy Merry and Mac McCullough, the two MS sufferers.  Before we arrive in Chamonix, we will have climbed Slieve Donard, Scafell Pike, Mount Snowdon and Ben Nevis, partly as a training tool but also to assess our capabilities and the impact our MS will have on them.

We are under no illusion that this is going to be a massive undertaking, particularly for the two MS sufferers who have mobility problems.  80 to 100 rescue interventions are made each year; sometimes several per day, and 80% of these are due to exhaustion as a result of poor physical preparation and lack of acclimatisation and the ever-present dangers from altitude sickness.  Natural risks such as avalanches, falling seracs, rock falls, storms and poor visibility are also hazards to be considered and contribute to some deaths each year (13 in 2012).

Apart from reaching the summit of Mont Blanc, the aim of our expedition, and something that is crucial to both Andy and Mac, is to show other MS sufferers that no matter what their difficulties, abilities or aspirations, they can always push themselves harder and further than they thought possible.  It doesn’t have to be Mont Blanc or even a mountain, but whatever your mountain is, take it on, tackle it, climb it and overcome it. 

To achieve this aim, we intend to use the four elements of the Commando Spirit; courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity.  Things we have all lived by during our service in the Royal Marines.

 

The Challenge

Mont Blanc meaning “White Mountain”, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe after the Caucasus peaks.  It rises 4,808.73 m (15,777 ft) above sea level. 

The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on 8th August 1786 and nowadays the summit is reached by an average of 20,000 climbers each year.  Each year, climbing deaths occur on Mont Blanc, and on the busiest weekends, normally around August, the local rescue service performs an average of 12 missions, mostly in aid of people in trouble on one of the normal routes up the mountain. 

Some courses require knowledge of high-altitude mountaineering, a guide (or at least an experienced mountaineer), and need the proper equipment.  All routes are long and arduous, involving delicate passages.  At least one night at a high mountain refuge is required to help acclimatise to the altitude.

The Team will travel to Geneva on 5th June 2017 arriving in Chamonix later that day.  We will then have a ten-day window during which we will complete our challenge, flying home on the 15th. 

It is our intention to spend at least two days sorting out our kit and equipment and conduct any final planning and rehearsals that may be required before making an attempt.  The exact route we will take is yet to be decided and will depend on the abilities of Andy Merry and Mac McCullough, the two MS sufferers. 

Before we arrive in Chamonix, we will have climbed Slieve Donard, Scafell Pike, Mount Snowdon and Ben Nevis, partly as a training tool but also to assess our capabilities and the impact our MS will have on them.

We are under no illusion that this is going to be a massive undertaking, particularly for the two MS sufferers who have mobility problems.  80 to 100 rescue interventions are made each year; sometimes several per day, and 80% of these are due to exhaustion as a result of poor physical preparation and lack of acclimatisation and the ever-present dangers from altitude sickness. 

Natural risks such as avalanches, falling seracs, rock falls, storms and poor visibility are also hazards to be considered and contribute to some deaths each year (13 in 2012).

Apart from reaching the summit of Mont Blanc, the aim of our expedition, and something that is crucial to both Andy and Mac, is to show other MS sufferers that no matter what their difficulties, abilities or aspirations, they can always push themselves harder and further than they thought possible. 

It doesn’t have to be Mont Blanc or even a mountain, but whatever your mountain is, take it on, tackle it, climb it and overcome it. 

To achieve this aim, we intend to use the four elements of the Commando Spirit; courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity.  Things we have all lived by during our service in the Royal Marines.

 

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