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Pedrosa makes Mont Blanc climb

Pedrosa makes Mont Blanc climb

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa is using the break in races to keep fit and since Misano he has already climbed to the top of Mont Blanc.

Dani Pedrosa was joined by 250cc rider Héctor Barberá and Repsol sponsored Dakar Rally winner Marc Coma in a successful expedition to the top of Mont Blanc, earlier this week, as part of the ‘Desafío Extremo’ (Extreme Challenge) programme presented by Jesús Calleja on Spanish television channel Cuatro TV.

In spite of winds up to 70 km/h and a chill factor of minus 35ºC the expedition started out at 4am on Monday from the Gouter mountain refuge to tackle the final 1,000m that took them to the summit. The peak was reached after a climb that took four and a half hours.

The Gouter refuge is situated at an altitude of 3,817m - where the group had spent the night before they set off - and after a short stop at the inhospitable Vallot emergency refuge on the way to the summit they began their final ascent. The group climbed with ropes connecting them to each other and crossed narrow ridges, some just 40cm wide, with sheer drops on either side, whilst a cold wind carrying ice hit them hard.

The final ascent, equipped with crampons and piolets, was made with three different ropes; Jesús Calleja in the lead, with Héctor Barberá, Dani Pedrosa, and Enrique Calleja at the back. Marc Coma was in the second group with Emilio Valdés, a cameraman; and the third was made up of Adolfo López, Jesús López and David Martínez Pato, Head of the Repsol press section.

Those who suffered the affects of the bad weather the most were Pedrosa and Barberá as they both lost feeling in their hands and feet. That same night only 25% of the 74 people who set out to climb Mont Blanc, managed to reach the 4,810m summit, and all of them were mountaineering experts, except the three sportsmen who carried on undaunted by the harsh weather conditions and the fact that it was their first ever high mountain climb.

After reaching the summit they had another tough two hour descent to Gouter, where they rested for an hour before tackling a gorge called ‘The Ravine of Death’, a descent that has the added complication of stone avalanches. This took them to the Tête Rousse refuge, 3,167m - where they also spent the night. On Tuesday the expedition returned to Chamonix, there they spent their final night before flying home.

Pedrosa’s impressions and anecdotes can be found on his blog at www.repsol.com.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2009, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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