In early September 2014, Almaty businessman Alexander Serazetdinov and Alexander Sofrygin committed climbing and raised the national Flag of the Republic of Kazakhstan on top of Mont Blanc. For the first time in the history of the famous peak of Western Europe «heard» the State Anthem of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which with pride, was listened by climbers.
Mont Blanc, 4810 metres, is the highest point in Western Europe, is located on the border of France and Italy at Courmayeur and Haute-Savoi regions; the Mont Blanc massif has a length of about 50 km, and is visible for hundreds of kilometres, so that even the European aircraft flights, passengers can appreciate its grandeur and beauty. As has been climbing, we decided to ask its ideological mastermind.
– Good morning, Alexander Duglasovich, please, tell us how appeared the idea of the expedition on Mont Blanc?
– The idea appeared a year ago, after our successful climbing to Talgar peak last August, 2013, – said the candidate of chemical sciences, athlete-skier and reserve officer Alexander Serazetdinov. One of its members, Vasily Pivtsov, asked me: Alexander, and what's next? I admitted that I would be interested to ascend Mont Blanc, and offered to organize an expedition. Unfortunately, our entire team was not able go on a mountain hike, it was scheduled for early September 2014, in couple with Alexander Sofrygin.
The initial idea of sports and educational expedition to climb Mont Blanc gradually evolved and acquired new features. This is due to the fact that over the past year, much has happened in the world, illustrating how it is brittle as quickly forgotten “history lessons” ... This and much more has led us to the decision to go on an expedition to Mont Blanc with a message of peace from the people of Kazakhstan. Upon ascending to the top, I recorded to videocamera the short speech that in Kazakhstan had peacefully lived more than 100 ethnicities, nationalities. And this is one of the major achievements of our country and our President! Subsequently, this record will be used in the creation of a movie.
– Also, you raised the flag of Kazakhstan and listened to the national anthem of Kazakhstan on top of Mont Blanc. It's very patriotic.
– This year, we, together with Alexander Sofrygin and Vasiliy Pivtsov has already carried out a series of climbs with the same purpose – raising of the national flag and anthem listening at such peaks as the peak of Manshuk Mametova, Lenin peak. The anthem of our country in all these important tops sounded for the first time in history. So, State symbols of our country have gone a long way this year: from the tops of Zailiy Alatau to the peaks of the Pamir and the Alps.
We will continue to climb and to raise the spirit of patriotism among the youth and for the harmony of the peoples of Kazakhstan. It is very important that our well-known Kazakhstan climbers like Ervand Ilyinsky, supported our endeavours.
– How easy or difficult for citizens to get to Chamonix?
– We have chosen flight Almaty - Kiev - Geneva via Amsterdam. Of course, there are other options. Further, from Geneva most of the mountain-climbers reach to Chamonix, then to the tram station by train or cable car and begin climbs.
Each year to the Mont Blanc try to climb about 20 thousand people, which in itself cause damage to nature and the environment in the area of Mont Blanc. Therefore, in the current season should have come into effect an innovation, which prohibits camping at altitudes above 3300 metres, and climbers need to spend the night in so-called shelters. Get on the night in the shelters is not easy, you need to reserve space on a certain date through the Internet. Before the trip we had not been possible to do it. We were also not entirely sure whether the new rules for overnight stay. So preparing for the campaign as we have to be prepared in the mountains where we need to take with you everything you need: climbing and bivouac equipment, clothes, food, medicines, etc.
Have brought a double light high-rise tent, all you need for cooking, sleeping bags, Mounting House packs with dehydrofrozen products, as expected, that will spend nights in a tent, as well as standard equipment: rope, climbing iron, cobra hammers, harnesses, helmets, climbing shoes, appropriate clothing, etc. Gas cylinders for JetBoil had been bought already in Saint Gervais. In general, were very large (85 l) and heavy backpacks.
Having been in the Contamines ski resort , talking to the locals and mountain guides from travel agencies in Saint Gervais. They confirmed to us that the new rules for tents are already operating and on the route are on duty gendarmes to monitor their implementation. At this, in the absence of places in the Aiguille du Guter shelter we would have a sad prospect – climbing the top of Mont Blanc from the Tet and Rus shelter and back for one light day that is 12 hours with a height of 1700 m. But «supreme forces» foretelled another, after a two-day expectations of our big bags we have two seats at the Gutè shelter, and we have booked them immediately! This is finally determined the tactics of our ascent.
– That made the biggest impression?
– The Mountain is very beautiful, wide open spaces and incredible landscape. For me, the most difficult was the rock route – climbing on the Grand Kuluara counterfort. It was affected by a lack of experience moving on the rocks and heavyweight backpack. There is also some mixed feeling, which before the climbs I have not experienced. So you're at the top, to a decent height, almost 5000 m (as our Talgar peak) and are standing almost as «in the crowd» at a tram stop. However, people chain moves up and down. With Alexander we described the ascent of Mont Blanc as the European mass «civilized mountaineering».
In General, the most joy of victory is certainly present, but it is slightly blurred by the perception that people like you on this mountain have been and still be thousands ... However, the goal of our expedition was attained, we, together with our State symbols: the flag and anthem, have been at the top of the highest point in Western Europe.
Author: Alexey Kulikov
Photo from the archives of Alexander Serazetdinov