or Monte Bianco[/ish_headline]
Mont Blanc or Monte Bianco, both meaning “White Mountain”, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest peak in Europe outside of the Caucasus range.
The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on 8 August 1786 by Jacques Balmat and the doctor Michel Paccard. This climb, initiated by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure.
Now the summit is ascended by an average 20,000 mountaineer-tourists each year. It could be considered an easy, yet long, ascent for someone who is well trained and used to the altitude. From l’Aiguille du Midi (where the cable car stops), Mont Blanc seems quite close, being 1,000 m (3,300 ft) higher. But while the peak seems deceptively close, La Voie des 3 Monts route (known to be more technical and challenging than other more commonly used routes) requires much ascent and descent before the final section of the climb is reached and the last 1000 m push to the summit is undertaken.
The mountain was the scene of two fatal air crashes; Air India Flight 245 in 1950 and Air India Flight 101 in 1966. Both planes were approaching Geneva airport and the pilots miscalculated their descent.
In 1946 a drilling project was initiated to carve a tunnel through the mountain. The Mont Blanc tunnel would connect Chamonix, France.
The summit of Mont Blanc is a thick, perennial ice and snow dome whose thickness varies. No exact and permanent summit elevation can therefore be determined, though accurate measurements have been made on specific dates. For a long time its official elevation was 4,807 m (15,771 ft). In 2002, the IGN and expert surveyors, with the aid of GPS technology, measured it to be 4,807.40 m (15,772 ft 4 in).