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CHAPTER VI. THE FIRST ASCENT OP MONT BLANC. TTTE are now
approaching the date when, in all human probability, the foot of
man was placed, for the first time, upon the crown of Mont Blanc.
In the belief that the obstacles which the state of the snows had
offered to his progress, were the result only of the advanced
season, De Saussure determined to follow up his enterprise, by the
same route?that of the Aiguille du Goute?the next year. He
therefore engaged Pierre Balmat to build up a stone cabin on one of
the shelves of the Aiguille, ready for the attempt; and to watch
carefully the state of the snow when the summer came round again.
In the execution of this project, Pierre Balmat, Marie Coutet, and
another guide, climbed up the Aiguille on the 8th of June, 1786,
and reached the top of the Dome du Goute, with great toil and pain,
suffering acutely from the rarefaction of the air. Here they fell
in with Fraois Paccard, and three otherguides, who had ascended by
La Cote?the ridge of mountain that divides the lower part of the
Glacier des Bossons from that of Taconnay. This rendezvous had been
agreed upon, in order that they might see which road was the most
advantageous. The preference was given to La Cote, inasmuch as
Paccard's party reached the Dome du. Goute a good hour and a half
before the others, with infinitely less danger and fatigue. Uniting
their forces, they traversed a large plain of snow, and gained a
huge ridge which connected the top of Mont Blanc with the Dome du
Goute; but this was so steep and narrow that its passage was
impossible. They investigated every portion of the plain, and
coming to the conclusion that, as far as this route was concerned,
the summit of Mont Blanc appeared more inaccessible than ever, they
sulkily returned by La Cote, to Chamo...
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