The beautiful location of the trail running in the French Alps drove the participants away

The beautiful location of the trail running in the French Alps was won by the participants, while Francois Dhane of France and Courtney Dowler of the United States won the event.

In the beautiful location of Mont Blanc, the riders were enjoying the beauty of the mountainous areas as well as taking part in trail running.

Participants in the event had to cover a distance of 106 km, all runners were amazed to see the beauty of Mont Blanc at an altitude of 32,000 feet.

France’s Franois Dhane covered the distance in 20 hours and 45 minutes, leaving everyone behind.

In the women’s event, Courtney Dweller of the United States won the event in 22 hours and three minutes.

Snow-covered pinnacles of Mont Blanc, France.
Mont Blanc overlooks a town in France.
Mont Blanc massif in the Alps, France.
Mont Blanc, viewed from Chéserys Lake in the French Alps.

Loehr agrees. “Americans hire us to keep them safe, not just to get them to the summit,” he says. “So it’s just a different dynamic. In Europe, the guides are more likely to teach just enough for you to follow them, not enough for you to really develop a skill or understanding of the risks and how to manage them.” And that difference, both Loehr and Crothers argue, affects the risk level for the whole group.

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“People who view the guide as a god, not an instructor, are, I think, less inclined to speak up and ask questions, even if they feel something isn’t right, in their gut,” Crothers says. “If you increase the competency level of the clients, overall, the team is much more prepared to handle the risks better.

“The fatality rate on Mont Blanc doesn’t reflect the inherent, fundamental risks of that mountain,” Loehr says. “Guiding isn’t the problem. It’s the approach to guiding there that’s the problem. It’s a combination of the sheer numbers of people on the mountain, the low level of experience of the people climbing the mountain, and the approach of the guides, that’s causing the fatality rates on that mountain.”

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Loehr is quick to note that his view reflects only his own opinion and experiences. But the critique offered by both Loehr and Crothers correlates with my own experience on Mont Blanc, four years ago.

In 2008, I was recruited to be part of a guided climbing team attempting to summit Mont Blanc. Only about five of our 22 team members had any climbing experience, and I was not one of them. But I, too, was assured by the guiding company that no previous climbing experience was required. It was really just a long walk, they said, and as long as I was in good physical condition, it would be no problem.

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For four months before the climb, I ran four to five mile a day, worked out at the gym three or four times a week, and hiked seven to 20 miles each weekend, so I was in pretty good physical condition. I also had hiked up an 18,000-foot mountain in the Himalayan mountains 10 years earlier, so I had some familiarity with high-altitude hiking and knew I could handle the altitude. But I also knew that the three days the guides had allocated to climb a 16,000 foot mountain wouldn’t give us enough time to acclimate to the altitude. When two climbing friends and I climbed up that peak in the Himalayas, we took nine days to go up and down — and that was starting at 7,000 feet. But when I voiced my concern to the Mont Blanc guides ahead of time, however, I was told not to worry about it.