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You may have noticed the name of a mountain peak beneath your username and wondered "what's that?" Wonder no more, because we have a nifty guide to all of our ranks, featuring a list of all the peak names. In this series, we will explore each peak in our ranking system including a pronunciation guide, fun facts, and more.

So let’s dive straight into our first rank, the beloved Mont Blanc.

Sounds like: mɑn ˈblɑŋk / "maant blaangk"

Mont Blanc means White Mountain in French, aptly named after the permanently snow-covered dome at the summit. Often considered the birthplace of modern mountaineering, it rises 15,774 ft (4,807.81 m) above sea level. Nestled between French and Italian valleys, its summit ownership is the subject of an ongoing historical dispute between the two countries. There are several routes to reach the top, featuring an abundance of Strava Segments.

The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and the doctor Michel Paccard. This feat is traditionally known to have marked the beginning of modern mountaineering. The first woman to reach the summit was Marie Paradis in 1808. It is said that she begged her companions to throw her into the nearest crevasse “to end her misery” after summitting, due to her extreme exhaustion. Thirty years later, the second woman reached the top and was personally congratulated by Paradis at the celebration in the French town of Chamonix upon descending. Chamonix is located at the base foot of Mont Blanc where the first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924.

Person sitting on a rock next to a tent overlooking Mont BlancPerson sitting on a rock next to a tent overlooking Mont Blanc

Fun facts:

  • Around 20,000 mountaineers summit Mont Blanc every year.
  • The two highest toilets in Europe are located on this mountain (at a height of 4,260 m / 13,976 ft) strategically placed and serviced by helicopter. They serve 30,000 skiers and hikers annually.
  • There have been 2 notable speed ascents: Swiss climber Pierre-André Gobet who completed a round trip from Chamonix in 5 hours, 10 minutes, and 14 seconds in 1990. Basque speed climber and runner, Kilian Jornet, completed the ascent and descent in just 4 hours 57 minutes 40 seconds on July 11, 2013.
  •  A 7 mile/11 km long tunnel connects France with Italy and travels directly underneath the mountain.
  • The lowest recorded temperature on Mont Blanc is -43°C/-45.4°F, set in January 1893.

Have you been to Mont Blanc before? We'd love to hear about your experience in the comments.

Make sure you dive into the rest of our 'To The Peaks & Beyond' Series here.

See you at the next peak, keep climbing!