Mont Blanc Range: Classic Snow, Ice & Mixed Climbs

Review by planetFear
Friday 17th August 2007

The Larache/Lebblong book fits into the "starting out" category of alpine books, listing easier grades up to more technical assents, i.e. those often dependent on very positive conditions for the new or infrequent Alpinist. The book is just over A5 in size, and 95 pages thin. Inside it covers over 30 routes including variants to classic routes. The descriptions are concise, with dramatic photos and clear sketches of the peak and routes.

The book advertises itself as reflecting 'recent topographic change' i.e. that from climate change. This for the UK reader is invaluable; warning of new difficulties and season end changes to obstacles such as Bergshrund defines both your route choice as well as when best to plan your trip.

Starting with a general but clear map of the climbs around Chamonix it remains factual throughout having retained only a little 'French flair' in the descriptions from its translation.

Both the wordage and fine pictures make for inspiring stuff and combined with a copy of the local map, a night's plotting with this book will leave you inspired and with a tick list for your trip but importantly flexible to compensate for present day conditions.

The descriptions are more meaningful and detailed than the other similar sized and priced guides, particularly ensuring the reader is left in no doubt about any genuine seriousness or risks of the ranges of routes graded from F to AD+ as well as those posed by the now common poorer conditions, particularly towards the end of the season. A current detailed listing for huts, cable cars, etc complements this good base of info.

Overall, the book provides an up to date, useful starter to guide your decision making for new or returning trippers to the Alps. It is definitely more useful than previous books I have used and I feel better equipped to consider my skills against the variable conditions once I am there. In short, at £12.95 you really can't go wrong.


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