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Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc, at 15,781 feet the highest peak in Europe, marks the border between France and Italy.

The mountain was first climbed in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Gabriel Paccard, and in 1787 by Balmat and, later, Horace Bénédict de Saussure. Although the expeditions were separate, Balmat and Saussure are celebrated together in a commemorative sculpture in Chamonix.

There were five successful expeditions, two of them British, between 1787 and 1816 when the Shelley party visited Mont Blanc. Although Percy Bysshe Shelley was well aware that the mountain had been scaled, yet his poem "Mont Blanc," written during the summer of 1816, represents the summit of the mountain as never having been intruded upon by a human being. In the novel, Victor characterizes its perpetual snowcap as the "bright summit of Mont Blanc" (1.6.5 and note).