Here are some interesting facts about Mont Blanc.
- Mont Blanc (French for White Mountain) is the highest mountain in the European Union, at 15,781 feet. It is located in the French Alps, very close to the border with Italy.
- The first recorded ascent was in August, 1786 by Jacque Balmat and Michel Paccard, and the first ascent by a woman was in 1808. A Swiss mountaineer climbed Mont Blanc and came back down in just over 5 hours.
- Over 20,000 climbers reach the summit of the mountain every year. There are several different established routes to the summit, one of which means spending the night in a hut.
- The exact height of Mont Blanc can actually vary from year to year, depending on the amount of snow cover. There are actually two summits, about 100 feet apart.
- The Mont Blanc tunnel, which links France and Italy, travels directly underneath the mountain. The tunnel is 7 miles long and took 8 years to build.
- A jacuzzi party was held on the summit of the mountain, in 2007. It took 20 people to carry a portable hot tub to the summit, along with equipment able to withstand the cold.
- Like other popular mountains, human waste has long been a problem on Mont Blanc. In 2007, two portable toilets were carried by helicopter and placed on the mountain at a height of 14,000 feet.
- Two passenger aircraft have crashed on the mountain, in 1950 and 1966, killing over 160 people. In 1960, Henri Giraud landed a small aircraft successfully on the summit.
- The first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924 in Chamonix, a town at the foot of the mountain. Mont Blanc is also regarded by many as the birthplace of modern mountaineering.
- Although the entire area is well known for its winter sports and mountaineering, summer is also a popular time to visit. The surrounding area offers great opportunities for hiking and cycling.
What next? Learn about some of the world’s other famous mountains.