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The weather imposes changes to the CCC® and UTMB® courses!

by Press Release
Friday 31st August 2012
Tags  The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc   |   The North Face   |   ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT-BLANC   |   UTMB   |   TDS   |   CCC   |   PTL

Race news: The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® - August 30, 2012

The race director, Catherine Poletti announced the main changes during Friday's press conference:

CCC® The race avoids the highest points

This morning under light rain and cool temperatures (15°C) in Courmayeur, the CCC started on time at 10am. "As I speak, many competitors have already crossed the Col Ferret in very difficult snowy conditions. These bad conditions were forecasted and, to gain an hour on this weather and the snow, the organisers decided to avoid the summit of the Tête de la Tronche (2584m), explained Catherine Poletti. Similarly, with night-fall conditions were predicted to deteriorate even further, so runners will not be crossing the Tête aux Vents (1984m) at the end of the course".

UTMB®/ A French course

With deteriorating weather conditions for the coming hours, the organising committee decided to establish a new race route for the UTMB® 2012. "We cannot allow 2000 runners across the Col de la Seigne in reasonable conditions of safety. Cold + snow + night + strong winds + precipitations represent a hellish cocktail, especially at altitude in the mountains where no helicopter rescue is possible. On this section and up above an altitude of 2000m, more than 15cm of snow is expected, extreme cold with very strong winds. To be able to cross over to Italy and Switzerland it is necessary to pass over the Col Ferret where conditions are even worse" explained the course director, this clearly explains the reasons for the change of this race route.

"All the volunteers, runners and supporters are frustrated not to be able to follow the original route" she continued, "but it would be unforgivable to send competitors off into a real nightmare. We must apply the same advice given to the competitors to ourselves as well: to be able to adapt ourselves to the terrain and the present conditions".

A new route has been mapped entirely on French territory. "For all those who have crossed oceans and trained long and hard, we worked throughout the night to be able to offer an interesting 100km race route, with approximately 6000m of vertical ascent" continued The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc course director. "This route will start in Chamonix on Friday at 19h and will follow the initial course until reaching La Balme. Next the runners will pass under the Col du Joly and descend towards Les Contamines, in the direction of La Vilette, Bellevue, Les Houches. They will follow Le Petit Balcon Sud, passing by the Tré-le-champ and head towards the arrival in Chamonix via Argentière and Le Petit Balcon Nord".

The front-runners will be expected to arrive at approximately 5h30 Saturday morning.

"Runners, organisers, volunteers and sponsors must be united in these difficult circumstances" concluded Catherine Poletti. "And we must all respect the mountains; when mother-nature does not want us, we should not go there. It is somewhat similar to an expedition: we are never sure if we will reach the summit despite all precautions taken; but what is certain is that the competitors in the 2012 edition are going to experience a genuine heroic adventure, enduring conditions including snow, cold, wind, fog and hail on the modified course".

The final time barrier for this event is predicted for 21h on Saturday.

Weather forecast

Friday 31st August: Start of the UTMB® and during Friday night to Saturday: fog, rain (10/12 litres m2 of water), light snow as low down as 1700 m (2 to 5 cm) but 5/10 cm at 2/2500 m, -1°C at 2500 m and 50 km/h north westerly winds, giving a wind chill factor of -5/-10°C.

Saturday 1st September: Contamines/ Chamonix/Vallorcine : cloudy sky, fog as low down as the valleys, light rain in the morning and snow from 1700 m. Showers in the afternoon, the snow line will lift from 1700 m to 2100 m for the end of the day, 2 to 5 cm at 2000 m. 40km/h north easterly winds decreasing to 20 km/h in the afternoon.

Maximum temperatures in Chamonix 13°C. 0 to 5°C at 1800 m.

In Switzerland (Fouly, Champex, Trient) : snow as low as 1700 m throughout the day 5 to 7 cm, thick fog. 40 km/h north easterly winds at 2000 m giving a wind chill factor of -5/-10°C.


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