Well we almost made it!
On arrival in Chamonix the team were warned by the guides that unseasonally hot weather had effectively melted the usual route up to the summit, and that a lesser peak might have to do, assuming we all passed the 3 days of training. This began the following morning and culminated in a 12 hour ascent of Gran Paradiso, at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) the tallest mountain in Italy. It was tough going but we all made it.
Alas, on return to base we were informed that high winds would prevent any Mont Blanc attempt and that the Gran Paradiso climb – a challenge in itself – would be our sole experience of crampons, crevasses and ice axes. In order to harness (literally) our newfound fearlessness, alternatives were offered by the guides, including rock climbing and ‘traversing’ (scrambling over jagged rocks a mere 2,800 metres up). All in all, the team returned exercised, a little sore, and respectful of the mountain and it’s unpredictable moods.
With pledges still coming in, the total raised so far is in excess of £1,200. Thanks to all those who have contributed, especially from the kids at KL