Mont Blanc is one of the highest mountains in Europe, second only to Elbrus. Interestingly, discussions about the exact height of Mont Blanc have been going on for many years. It used to be considered that it is equal to 4 807 meters above sea level. But, in 2007, it was announced that the mountain had "grown" to 4, 810.9 m. A couple of years later, it turned out that Mont Blanc had become 45 centimeters lower. But, this does not prevent it from remaining the highest peak in Western Europe.
10 interesting facts about Mont Blanc
- The first successful ascent of Mont Blanc took place on August 8, 1786. On this day, two residents of Chamonix climbed to the top - Michel Pakcard and Jacques Balm. True, in the same Chamonix there is a monument to Jacques Balm and Horace Benedict de Saussure. But, in this composition, they ascended Mont Blanc a year later. It turns out that Michel Pokkar was simply forgotten. Although, there is irrefutable evidence that he was the first to set foot on the top. In addition, Pokkar carried out measurements of air temperature and atmospheric pressure there. Horace Benedict de Saussure was a wealthy man. Back in 1760, he promised a substantial prize to the one who was the first to conquer Mont Blanc. But, for more than a quarter of a century, there were no such daredevils. Jacques Balma made the second ascent already as a guide, showing the way to the top of the mountain. Jacques Balme and Horace Benedict de Saussure climbed Mont Blanc in fairly comfortable conditions, their expedition was served at once by 18 porters. Moreover, the luggage contained not only the most necessary things. The climbers did not forget to take with them even slippers, dress clothes and an umbrella.
- US President Theodore Roosevelt suffered from asthma attacks as a child. He managed to defeat the disease only with the help of active sports. And in 1886, 28-year-old Roosevelt climbed Mont Blanc. In Europe, he spent his honeymoon getting married a second time. It is believed that the successful storming of Mont Blanc added votes to him 15 years later, during the presidential campaign.
- The first woman to visit the summit of Mont Blanc was an ordinary Chamonix maid, Marie Paradis. An 18-year-old girl was included in the expedition for the sake of sensation. However, everything did not go as smoothly as planned. Already at an altitude of 3, 000 meters, Marie lost consciousness, therefore, her male colleagues had to carry her in their arms. The next woman decided to take such a step only after 30 years.
- Climbers believe that the ascent to the top of Mont Blanc cannot be called very difficult, moreover, all routes have been well studied for more than two hundred years. However, the death toll of climbers on Mont Blanc is even higher than on Everest. This is due to the fact that Mont Blanc is located in the center of Europe, therefore, there are too many who want to conquer it. Often amateurs go out to the summit without even using the services of professional guides.
- There have even been two fatalities in history of aircraft flying here. Tragically, both of them belonged to the same Indian airline Air India. The crashes took place in 1950 and 1966. The victims were about 200 passengers and crew members. In 1966, the famous Indian nuclear physicist Homi Jehangir Baba was on board a Boeing 707, flying to a meeting of the IAEA council.
- Mont Blanc is located on the border of two countries - France and Italy. They did not manage to share Mont Blanc for a long time. Only in 1861, an agreement was signed in Turin, according to which it was established that the Franco-Italian border runs right along the top of the mountain. It should be clarified that Italy at that time was fragmented, the document was signed by the Kingdom of Sardinia.
- The slopes of Mont Blanc attract many snowboarders and skiers. And the small French town of Chamonix, located in the valley of the Arve River, gained worldwide fame in 1924, the first Winter Olympic Games were held here. The competition was attended by 293 athletes from 16 countries. Most of the awards were won by Norwegian athletes.
- Mont Blanc Road Tunnel, opened in 1965, connected France and Italy. The length of the structure is 11, 611 meters, of which 7644 meters are located in France and 3967 in Italy. Up to 5, 000 vehicles pass through the tunnel every day. In March 1999, a fire broke out in the tunnel, which killed 39 people. It was not possible to extinguish the fire for more than two days.
- The Danish artist Marco Evaristi in 2007 conceived the idea of founding a sovereign state at the top of Mont Blanc, where tolerance and pluralism would reign. And even planned to paint the top of the mountain red. But, the artist's idea was stopped by the French police.
- World football star Zinedine Zidane reached the summit of Mont Blanc in 2009. The goal was set here, into which Zidane scored a goal. Moreover, he did it not for self-promotion. Thus, the footballer tried to draw public attention to the fight against a serious disease - leukodystrophy. Zinedine Zidane is actively involved in charitable activities, regularly participates in football matches, the funds collected from which go to help sick children