The mountaineers hold aloft the Flame at the summit of Mont Blanc ©Minsk 2019

The Flame for the Minsk 2019 European Games has burned at the summit of Mont Blanc despite fierce blizzard conditions and the team has safely returned to base camp at Courmayeur.

Although five members of Belarus Mountaineering Federation had completed a successful trial run a week ago, climber Denis Zhidkov admitted weather conditions had caused problems in making the ascent with the Flame.

"The weather served us a handful of surprises during the climb,"’he said.

"There were very strong winds, which significantly slowed our progress.

"It was difficult to fight them and such strong winds at such a great height drains you a lot. 

"We had explored the route a lot before so there were no surprises from that point of view."

The Flame was taken to the summit in one of the special protective cases which are being used throughout this Torch Relay.

"When we lit the Torch at the top, we immediately felt a sense of pride for the 2nd European Games, for our country and ourselves," Zhidkov said. 

"And, I won’t deny it, there was also a sense of happiness that we could go back down."

After hoisting the Belarus flag, the group began their descent to Courmayeur where they were greeted by local mayor Stefano Miserocchi.

Climbers encountered tough conditions on their journey to the summit of Mont Blanc ©Minsk 2019
Climbers encountered tough conditions on their journey to the summit of Mont Blanc ©Minsk 2019

The three-day expedition had been directed by Belarus Mountaineering Federation President Alexander Godlevsky.

"I have the sense that the Flame of Peace is filling the souls of our mountaineering team members with fire," he said.

Minsk 2019 ceremonies chief Sergey Khomich was delighted that an important milestone had been achieved.

"This is very encouraging," he said.

"Not a lot of time has passed but we’ve already had two big ceremonies, which have given people a lot of joy. 

"We feel that our efforts are not in vain. 

"The Flame of Peace is a fantastic Relay. 

"It underlines the status of the 2nd European Games and allows many people outside our country to get to know Belarus better."

Yevgney Beyzak of The One Chapter Belarus then received the Flame to continue the international journey by motorbike. 

The motorcycle outriders will next take the Flame to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.