ResponseSource Blog

On the roof of Europe for Alzheimer’s Society

By Daryl Willcox

26th June 2014

Daryl and guide Simon Abrahams on the Mont Blanc summit (well, sort of)

I am back in the Chamonix valley after summiting Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe at 4,810m, at 14:05 yesterday.

The forecast was good and we had clear weather most of the way up. Then suddenly we were in snow, wind and very poor visibility. So as soon as we reached the top we turned around and started down the summit ridge, as our tracks were getting covered by blown snow.

It was tricky navigating so we stopped at Vallot Hut (a very basic emergency hut at 4,360m) for an hour or so for the weather to calm down a bit. We then picked our way back to the Gouter Hut in still quite poor visibility.

The picture is actually not at the top, it is outside the Vallot Hut just before we headed down. We really didn’t have the inclination for pictures at the summit. My guide Simon said it was the worst weather he’d been in on the summit of Mont Blanc.

This has taken a great deal of planning and training and I hope it moves you to donate to the Alzheimer’s Society, if you’re not one of the many people who have done so already. For reasons why I chose the Alzheimer’s Society read my last post.

The last picture I took on the way up, about two hours from the summit. Mont Blanc is the flatter peak on the horizon, the peak to the right is the Grande Bosse, which for me was a tough psychological challenge.

I’d like to thank all those who have sponsored me, my partner & kids for putting up with me being away for eleven nights, the DWPub team for supporting me in this venture and those who helped me in my fitness training in the last few months – you know who you are. Of course I must also thank my guide Simon Abrahams who has been brilliant in every way during my acclimatisation and the climb itself.

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