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What could be better than the mountains? Only the mountains that you havent yet seen
Vladimir Vysotsky

Mont Blanc,

the highest peak in Western Europe, is 4800 metres high.

Experts say that climbing Mont Blanc is technically more challenging than ascending Mount Kilimanjaro not only due to its harsh weather conditions, but also as one has to wear crampons and carry ice picks. Around 50% of the attempted climbs do not succeed - should you see a helicopter flying towards its peak it is most likely a rescue mission.
It took us a lot of effort to convince alpine rescue coaches to climb with us because we had a number of young teenagers in our group. They agreed on condition that we underwent a two-day training course. One of the climbers remembers: At the end of the first day I tried not to faint from exhaustion, and did my best to keep on smiling. If the coaches knew what state I was in, they would have told me to stay behind. By the end of the second day I thought: Hurrah, I am still alive!

It takes eight years of training to become an alpine climbing coach on Mont Blanc. Our rescue coaches had trained alpine climbing coaches. They had predicted a coming storm a few hours before it took place, even though the sky was perfectly clear. Despite our objections, they postponed the climb. A few groups that walked past us towards the summit were hit by the storm and returned in a miserable state. After that, we understood how little we really knew. After three days we became a close-knit team and implicitly trusted our coaches, despite having questioned their decisions at first.

We climbed in roped teams of three a coach and two climbers. You cant have more because if something happens on the snow bridge over the crevice the coach can only save two people. You have to walk in line and keep a distance as the rope must be tight at all times.

Nothing unites people more than climbing in a team. Everyone strives to reach a common goal: your life depends on each team member. After three days, a group of barely acquainted people become very close. We found out more about each other than people do after years of close friendships. Ones true nature manifests itself in extreme conditions. And some of us were in for a big surprise! Few believed that we could reach the summit. Due to the storm we started the third and the last leg of our climb in complete darkness. We could not stay at 3500 meters for too long as we could have developed altitude sickness.

As we stood on the summit looking down on the Alps and the clouds below our feet, our men could barely hold back tears of joy. I burst out crying we did it! When I heard my coachs voice: Now were going back, I knew I wanted to stay up there; but we soon started the descent which turned out to be even harder than the ascent itself. Nonetheless, we successfully managed that too, even though - as we later found out - our coaches did not believe we could do it without the help of the helicopter rescue team.

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