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Knowledge | Mont Blanc Mystery: The Legend of the Tour de Mont Blanc Hike and the Journey to the Top

With countless mountaineering and trekking enthusiasts coming to Chamonix every year, there is no doubt that the Tour du Mont Blanc has become the star of the world's trekking routes. But how did it become a mecca for so many hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts? Today, we will introduce you to the history of the Tour de Mont Blanc, the history of human Alpine climbing.




Une renommée dès le 18ème siècle

源于18世纪的名声远扬


The history of the origins of the great hiking route around Mont Blanc can be traced back to the Chamonix Valley at that time in the 18th century.



Chamonix, then part of Le duché de Savoie and controlled by the Kingdom of Sardinia, was deserted and isolated, but it became known in 1741 with the visit of two young English explorers, Willam Windham and Richard Pocock. Dangerous peaks, terrifying cliffs and a huge glacier that seemed to be at the end of the world, this is how the two explorers described it to the world in their book upon their return to England.


英国探险家,Willam Windham(1717-1761)


Their writings quickly attracted the aristocracy of England and Europe. Soon the Chamonix Valley became a destination for many of the adventurers, poets and scientists of the time who were keen to explore.



With the arrival of these wealthy aristocratic visitors from Europe, many of the luxury hotels of the time were opened in the Chamonix Valley. At the same time, some of the local mountain dwellers turned to guiding these wealthy adventurers through the Alpine trails.





Première ascension du Mont Blanc en 1786 à 4775m

1786年勃朗峰4775米的首登纪录


In 1760, the arrival of a young man from Geneva changed the destiny of the Chamonix Valley forever.



That year, young Horace Bénédicte de Saussure visited Chamonix for the first time and was fascinated by the charms of Mont Blanc. He wanted to reach the summit in order to carry out several experiments on the white summit of his dreams. In those days, only a few brave miners and hunters dared to approach these snow-covered peaks, while the local population feared the "cursed mountain". The 20-year-old Geneva aristocrat was determined to find a way to the top.



Horace Bénédicte de Saussure was the first explorer to actually trek around Mont Blanc, embarking on the journey with two Chamonix guides and relying on mules to travel most of the way. Of the experience, he once wrote: "I can't believe if anyone will follow in my footsteps in the future, because the journey was full of great danger, exhaustion and discomfort ......"



The story of this ascent begins with Horace Bénédicte de Saussure, who, after learning about local superstitions and analysing his own lack of experience in the mountains, decided to take advantage of the greed of the inhabitants of the mountains of Chamonix by posting notices all over the valley announcing that "a great fortune" would be offered to anyone who would find the path to the top of the mountain. fortune" for those who found the path to the summit. The drive for profit was so strong that many of the locals entered the mad race to find the way to the top. The race lasted 26 years.



On 8 August 1786, a young hunter, Jacques Balma, accompanied by his doctor, Michel Packard, became the first mountaineer to conquer the Alps. During their climb, most of the inhabitants followed nervously through binoculars and the two men were welcomed as heroes on their return.



Just a month later, he acted as Saussure's guide, leading a large party of 17 guides, porters and travellers to the summit. The scientist stayed at the top for more than two hours, during which time he specifically measured the height of Mont Blanc, which was estimated at 4,775 metres, an achievement that at the time was undoubtedly a record for the accuracy of Mont Blanc!




Chamonix, haut lieu de l'alpinisme

霞慕尼,成为登山徒步的圣地


Saussure's words, written after his ascent, were quickly spread and translated into Italian and English. From then on, the reputation of the Chamonix Valley began to grow, and Saussure's words were the beginning of the story of how Chamonix came to be known as the "Mecca of Mountain Trekking"!



As times changed, the rise of skiing in the Alps further enhanced Chamonix's reputation, and in 1924 it hosted the first Winter Olympic Games.



Today, the Chamonix Valley is a world-renowned mountain resort, regarded as a mecca for mountaineering and attracting more than 20,000 climbers each year who attempt to conquer Mont Blanc.



This led to the now famous Tour de Mont Blanc (Tour du Mont Blanc), labelled in 1951 by the CNSGR (later FFRP (French Hiking Federation), and now one of Europe's most popular hiking routes, alongside the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and the Corsican GR20 (GR20 Corse). Santiago de Compostela) and the Corsican GR20 (GR20 Corse).



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