Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon conquers The Mont Blanc with his Home-Summit-Home Challenge
What a month it has been as our ultra trail athletes have taken on some of the biggest traverses in the French Alps, not only toppling records but doing so with extremely fast times.
This week it was another personal challenge set by the 26 year old Grenoble born French runner, Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon. His journey consisted of summiting The Mont Blanc from his home and back in La Rosiere, where he anticipated a 20 hour finishing time.
Alongside his friend Fabien Antolinos, they got underway at 19:00hr on Monday evening. With various stops along the way to refuel and change material for the ascent, they reached the 4,810 m peak at sunrise on Tuesday morning. Returning to La Rosiere that same afternoon to complete their journey with an impressive time of 20 hours 6 minutes. ¨I am very happy with the result of this traverse. Finally, we did more kilometres and elevation gain than expected (94km for 6100m D+ instead of 84km for 5900m D+) because we decided on the way back to take a slightly different route to avoid a dangerous part after the Col des Chavannes.
The arrival at the summit at sunrise will remain engraved in my memory, especially when I looked at where we were coming from on foot….11 hours of ascending from La Rosière¨
¨I have been living in La Rosière for almost 3 years and I love this place very much. I became Trail ambassador with Fabien Antolinos 1 year ago and we quickly talked about a common project to do together. La Rosière is located in Savoie, at 1850m of altitude, at the foot of Mont Blanc on the Italian side. Because of the proximity with the Mont Blanc, we decided to create a project : reach the Mont Blanc directly from La Rosière.¨
It has been an especially difficult year for Arthur to train at his optimal. Not only has the lockdown in France restricted his training schedule, but he has also been focusing on an important career move which has halted his running. ¨I didn't prepare myself specifically for this particular project. It's true that from December until the end of June it was very complicatedas I spent this time in Dijon to do my training as a high mountain gendarme. I had no possibility to train during the week which was very difficult for me especially since living in the mountains for the last 10 years! For sure, I could have been better prepared for the Mont Blanc challenge, but I was so eager to spend time in the mountains after all this time, that I decided to do it anyway¨
Despite the fact that he may have missed the preparation, there was no doubt that Arthur ran with his heart and his passion to be in the mountains again, drove him to the summit.
¨I had a very good feeling from the start, I was excited at the idea of going to Mont Blanc in one go from La Rosière. I don't think anyone's ever run up Mount Blanc from this far before. Depaturing and knowing that we're going to spend 20 hours in the mountains and at altitude... I loved that thought!¨
It was an incredible effort and experience to remember considering it was also his first time above 4,000metres of altitude. ¨The night went really well. I was only afraid of being cold because we were going to very high altitude. From the Gonella hut to the summit it took us 4 hours in mountaineering gear. It was the first time I had been so high in altitude but everything went well and we were able to progress quickly without any problems.¨
¨The descent to the hut was quick and easy because we were still in good shape. The moment of tiredness came when we went down the Glacier des Miages with 10 kms of big rocks ! We knew that we had 30km and the Chavannes pass still to ascend. After 17 hours outside and at high altitude, we needed to sleep.
Justine was at the pass and it was good to see her, she knows what to tell me in those moments so that I remain focused on the objective and forget about the fatigue I am feeling. I focused on the landscape and what I'm running for... freedom!
Then the arrival at La Rosière in 20:05 was magical! There were people to welcome us and all our friends from the station were there.¨
With great support from their partners and parents, both Arthur and Fabian were taken good care of to enable efficient refueling and material changes at each stop.
¨ I have to especially thank my parents because they walked more than 7 hours with big backpacks to get to the Gonella hut at 3000 metres altitude, the day before departure. They did the same the following day to return. They took all our mountaineering great with them so that we could change when we arrived and get to the top of Mont Blanc safely. Those who know the way to get there, know that that is a real challenge. Justine also took care of all the communication and live follow-up. She also took video with the drone, while providing me with supplies at important places. ¨
When asked of his competition plans for the remainder of the year, the young Frenchman confirmed that he is only just commencing the year, with plans to return to racing as soon as next weekend.
¨First up will be the MXTREM in Montreux, Switzerland, a 112KM and 8'500 M D+ course on July 25th. Then the Échappée Belle en Belledonne, a particularly technical race of 149KM for 11'400 M D+, on August 21st. Then, if the conditions allow it, I would like to come back to the Diagonal des Fous on Reunion Island in October¨
What were the most important go-to products for Arthur´s Project?
On this challenge we knew we were going to go very high altitude (4810m), with wind and a lot of parts with snow. so we needed windproof equipment, but also light and breathable because the goal was to go as fast as possible.
The most important products were the 10/10 waterproof pants and the 25/75 jacket, which I wore from the Gonella refuge to the summit at 4810m. I can't believe the performance of these two products! I wasn't cold at all... it's incredible!
That's why I love Compressport products. They are so versatile. You can use it for any occasion.