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~ Wednesday 28th July 2010

 A successful but tough ascent of Mont Blanc today. Conditions are good apart from the Grand Couloir, which is very dry. We used crampons to cross it going up in the dark, but came down easily without them. We saw the usual stonefall, but other teams reported lots, perhaps blown off by the wind or knocked off by others...a french guide told me about watching an eastern European guy (there were dozens) fall off the cable below Gouter - he bounced 15m, stopped then walked down. Lucky.

We left the Tete Rousse hut at 1.30am and woke up crossing a very dry Grand Couloir. All went well though, and by 4.00am we were at the Gouter hut. 

A very nice sunrise quickly turned to wild, windy and cloudy weather above the Vallot hut, which meant hard going on the upper ridge. We reached the top at 8 o'clock but only spent a few minutes there before starting the long way down...legs refuelled at the Gouter hut, then down to Tete Rousse, then the train, cable car and a sleepy drive home.