By the number of fatalities per year, Mont Blanc is by far the deadliest mountain in Europe. But it is technically easy to climb and this is behind its enormous popularity.
Mont Blanc – the deadliest mountain in Europe
Mont Blanc was climbed first by Jacques Balmat and Gabriel-Michel Paccard on Aug. 8, 1786. Nowadays, several millions of people visit Chamonix every year, and according to an article in New York Times, around 20000 people try to climb Mont Blanc every summer.
There are various numbers regarding the fatalities on Mont Blanc, and the differences may be drastic. So the actual numbers may be far from accurate.
According to Wikipedia, the all-time number of people who died climbing this mountain is in the range 6000 to 8000. This makes it far more deadly than any other mountain in Europe.
To better understand the numbers mentioned above, you can compare this with all times 500 deadly accidents on Matterhorn, or with 310 all-time dead on Mount Everest. So it appears that Mont Blanc is an infamous champion.
Is Mont Blanc the deadliest mountain in the world?
Some claim that in recent years up to 100 people die on Mont Blanc every year. This number seems to be highly exaggerated, it may be that this holds for the all Alps, but I could not find something reliable. But in view of so many people going there, such a high mortality rate should not be a surprise.
In an article I find that the number of fatalities is actually around 30 per year. This would give a mortality rate of 0.15% annually.
You can compare this with yet another popular mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro. It appears that 30000 people climb it every year, and only around 0.03% of them have chance of dying. This is 5 times fewer, but even this seems to be too many for such a simple mountain which is far less complicated to climb than Mont Blanc.
But let’s see how this compares with Everest. I found a graph in an article by BBC which shows that the mortality rate on Everest changes in years, and it is in the range 0.7 – 2.2%. On the other hand, Everest itself is with a much lower mortality rate than some other high mountains in the region.
In other words, Mont Blanc’s fatality rate is far smaller. But by the number of people killed, Mont Blanc seems to be the number 1 in the world. So it depends how you look at it, in relative or absolute sense.
Corridor of Death – Grand Couloir on the Goûter Route
The Death Gully on the Goûter route is at a quite low elevation of 3340 m (10958 ft). I have read that in the interval 1990 – 2017, there were 347 rescue operations at that spot. They resulted in 102 deaths and 230 injuries. This is a dangerous passage because of falling rocks and ice.
There was a study related to this dangerous place, and they found that in some intervals during the day there is less risk of falling rocks. More details is available in my separate text.
In this video you can see how this may look:
Is Mont Blanc difficult to climb?
From technical side, climbing Mont Blanc can be described as a simple walk up. In this sense it is far easier than many of the high mountains in the Alps. However, this is the highest mountain in the Alps, it is very popular and it is pursued by people with limited experience. This is the main reason behind such a number of accidents on this mountain.
So the high mortality should not be mixed with true difficulty of climbing this mountain. However, this does not mean that this is an easy and risk-free climb. Nothing could be more wrong than that.
Can you climb Mont Blanc with no experience?
The answer is yes, if you are willing to pay for mountain guides, they will take you there even if you have never climbed a mountain before. I know some who climbed it as complete beginners. But I am convinced that the same holds even for Mount Everest.
However, I have read somewhere that a number of fatal accidents happen because of beginners tripping while walking with their new crampons. So make sure that you at least know how to walk with crampons.
Speaking about crampons and all the other stuff, if you are a beginner and want to climb Mont Blanc, everything can be rented in Chamonix. This is a big business there. As for accommodation, you will find the best options on Booking.com.
So this is what I had to say about the deadliest mountain in Europe. Let me know if you have questions or comments, there is a comment box below.
For more texts of this type please check under the category Mountaineering. Check in particular my text about danger of mountaineering and about Annapurna as the mountain with the highest fatality rate in the world. Have a nice day.