Mont Blanc. See Mont Blanc.
Mont Blanc (Fr., "White mountain," so called from the snow which covers it), the highest of the Alps, and with the exception of Mt. Elburz in the Caucasus the highest mountain in Europe, on the confines of Savoy, France, and Piedmont, Italy, in lat. 45° 50' N., Ion. 6° 52' E. It extends about 13 m. from N. E. to S. W., with a breadth of 5 to 6 m. Its highest elevation, a narrow pinnacle, is 15,732 ft above the sea (according to Bruguiere, 15,-781 ft according to Corabceuf), and its summit for a distance of 7,000 ft. down is clothed with perpetual snow. The higher parts of Mont Blanc are composed of primitive rock, and its outlying flanks consist of calcareous strata turned up against the great central mass. The sides, to the height of 3,000 to 4,000 ft. above Chamouni, are skirted with forests. The surface of its higher parts is diversified and very irregular; there are numerous jutting rocks, called aiguilles or needles; large fields of ice, often broken into fissures of unknown depth; and grottoes excavated beneath the masses of ice by the warmer temperature below, and hanging with splendid stalactitic formations. Glaciers frequently sweep down its sides.
At night the summit shines with a faint light, which is thus accounted for: there is high in the atmosphere a zone of thin vapor which is still lighted by the sun after Mont Blanc has sed to be within range of its rays, and this vapor reflects a part of the light which it receives upon the summit of the mountain. The tint ascent of Mont Klanc was made Avith great danger and difficulty by Dr. Paccard and Jacqnes Balmat in August, 1786; but during the preceding ten years several unsuccessful attempts had been made. They found the cold no excessive that they remained on the summit only half an hour. The next year De Saussure accomplished the ascent, and made a variety of scientific observations. Albert Smith*s ascent in 1851 and subsequent pictorial and dramatic descriptive entertainment, and his "Story of Mont Blanc" (London, 1854), gave unusual popularity to the subject in England for several years. A record of two ascents (1858-'9) by Prof. Tyndall is in -The Glaciers of the Alp," (London, 1860). In 1855 Prof J D.Forbes published a "Tour of Mont Blanc and Mont- Rosa," and subsequently a series of papers on the theory, measurement, and movement of the glaciers. There are also numerous recent accounts of ascensions by members of the English Alpine club.
The achievement is no longer considered either dangerous or difficult. The guides and all matters relating to them are regulated by the French government, and ascents are frequent.
Mont Blanc from above Morses.