- Mont Blanc
Here comes our biggest secret. One word that would increase your chance of summiting 10 times = snowshoes. It is a volcano, remember? And it has a crater that you need to cross (about 3 to 4 km / 1,9 – 2,5 miles) before you climb the final 100 – 150 m to the summit. While this crater is absolutely flat, in winter it will definitely be full of snow, deeper than you would like to mess with. Here is the moment when you take the snowshoes out of your backpack in the manner a fairy would take out the magic wand. And it will do the miracle, transferring otherwise painful fight with at least knee-deep snow into a pleasant and effortless walk. Even if you are hesitant to bring snowshoes from wherever you are flying, rent them in Reykjavik. Yes, they will ask a whopping 30 – 40 EUR / a pair. And yes, it will be your best investment.
Otherwise things are straightforward. Clothes depend on a season, but even in winter it does not get colder than – 10 C (15 F) at the foot (this is rare), which will mean less than – 20 C ( -5 F) on the top. In our case it was about – 15 C (5 F) on the top in mid-February and it was considered an extra cold winter. The mountain being only 2100 m, altitude is not a factor and since you are supposed to go up in good weather only, wind chill should not be extreme as well. Single boots are sufficient, especially if you have ample space for tow waggling + a good thick sock. Plus the ordinary – crampons, an ice axe, ropes, harness…crevasse danger is bigger in summer, but better safe than sorry, be prepared year-around. Telescopic poles are a nice extra for snowshoeing across the crater. If weather forecast is any worse than stable and brilliant, have a plan B for a night on the mountain.
In winter there are no streams, so TAKE all WATER you need for a long day.