Alpinism in Chamonix

During the mid-19th century, the golden age of alpinism, numerous British climbers and their Swiss or French guides established many classic climbing routes in the Alps.

Edward Whymper, one of the most famous alpinists of the time, made the first ascent of the Grand Jorasses, one of the most challenging peaks in the Mont Blanc massif, in 1868.

Horace-Benedict de Saussure, a Swiss naturalist and one of the pioneers in alpine exploration, is also a significant figure from this period. He made several attempts to climb Mont Blanc and finally succeeded in 1787.

20th Century:

The 20th century saw significant developments in climbing techniques and equipment, and many famous climbers emerged during this period.
Gaston Rébuffat, a famous French alpinist and mountain guide, made numerous first ascents in the Mont Blanc massif during the mid-20th century. He was one of the first climbers to embrace climbing as a form of expression and art, rather than just a physical challenge.

Tragic Losses:

Tragically, Chamonix’s climbing history also includes numerous fatalities. The north face of the Grand Jorasses, in particular, has claimed many lives.

In 1997, renowned British climber Alison Hargreaves died while descending from the summit of K2, but she had previously made her mark in Chamonix. In 1995, she became the first woman to solo climb the dangerous north face of the Eiger, a feat she accomplished while six months pregnant.

Recent Years:

Today, Chamonix continues to attract elite climbers from around the world. Ueli Steck, a Swiss climber famous for his speed ascents, set a record in 2015 by climbing the 1,000 meter north face of the Grandes Jorasses in just 2 hours and 21 minutes.

The mountains around Chamonix continue to be a proving ground for climbers, and the region remains one of the world’s premier destinations for mountaineering.

Remember, while the peaks of Chamonix offer an unparalleled climbing experience, they also present significant risks. Safety should always be the top priority in the mountains, and all climbers, regardless of their experience level, should take the necessary precautions when planning their ascents.

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