France/Italy (4,810 m) – Tallest Mountain in Europe
Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in Europe (excluding the disputed Caucasus region), but the shortest of the Seven Continental Summits. Part of the thickest and highest concentration of mountains in the Alps, Blanc is also the best known, most visited and first to be climbed of the Seven Summits. Its name is French and means “White Mountain”.
Blanc has been known to Europeans since before Roman times. Considered a (relatively) easy climb, it was first ascended by a French expedition in 1786. However, considering the tens of thousands of climbers who reach the top every year, it is more than possible that earlier explorers already reached the top. Part of the mountain is accessible by cable car.
Mont Blanc has an interesting history. For one thing, it is the site of one of the last ongoing border disputes in Europe, with most of the mountain located in France, but Italy claiming portions of it. One of the world’s most impressive tunnels, the Mont Blanc Tunnel, runs under the mountain between the two countries. Mont Blanc is very accessible on both sides of the border, specifically Chamonix in France and Courmayeur in Italy, both of which are only a few miles away. The latter was the site of the first Winter Olympics, and skiing events were held on and around the mountain.