By March my Dad had decided that he wasn’t going to the
After getting up at 4 in the morning, being chauffeured down to Edinburgh airport by my Dad and then almost missing the bus from the airport to Chamonix because I didn’t know I needed a ticket (thankfully the driver was nice enough to wait a couple of minutes), I began the bus journey to Chamonix. The bus runs 3 times a day and goes through the centre of
Getting off the bus to place which appeared to be in no way similar to the pleasantly busy
The next day I awoke to a day almost as good as the one before. I stuck to the routine I had learned from my Dad in Randa last year. Stay in the tent until the sun is shining on it (although my uncle had a lot of trouble adhering to this) other wise, you get wet, your tent gets wet inside and it’s usually uncomfortably cold. I had a shower and then applied sun cream (yet another lesson I’d learned but this time from the Val Veni where you could see my sock marks for the better half of a year after!) and then headed off for
I didn’t feel very confident on the ladders (I think I would have felt a lot better going down the rock to be honest) but I eventually got down them, watching people getting geared up before the initial incline onto the glacier I contemplated whether or not to go on. After a few minutes I was heading up the ice. It was surprisingly grippy, It was still reasonable early so the sun hadn’t liquefied the top surface and it felt much like the hard frost we get here on old snow, the satisfying crunch with every step. I continued with ease up the glacier on avoiding the shallow crevasses until I got to the inner end of the first corner. The ice bellow me was starting to melt so I decided to go back. Picking my way back I didn’t have any trouble until I got half way down the initial incline. I stopped to think which way was best, while a French guy on the other side on a rest between ladders found it necessary to shout I was in trouble and telling the people below to come up and help me. Thankfully they ignored him completely and in a few minutes time I had picked my way down without much bother and was heading towards the start of the ladders. Going up the ladders was a lot easier than going down and as I reached the Frenchman he explained to me that I shouldn’t have been on the glacier because I could have needed to be rescued from a crevasse, even though I had watched a young family with 2 kids younger than 10 with no more gear than I had pass me coming off the glacier as I was about the head up the initial incline, I chose to ignore him and continue up the ladder behind him overtaking him on the next platform and continuing back to the path.
From the top of the ladders I headed back to Montenvers and then on past the Hotel. I glanced at the map and decided to go up to Signal Forbes. Upon reaching there I then left the path and headed up the ridge that would eventually develop into the Grand Charmoz. I got a fair bit up then I decided that it was getting too cold for my attire and took a shortcut which ended me up heading down very Scottish like terrain (a steep slope with wild vegetation and scree). I eventually found my way onto the path that connects the Signal Forbes with Le Grande Balcon Sud. This path was very busy, I worked out it was people getting the cable car up to the midi then halfway down to walk to Montenvers. I was heading to the Plan de L’aiguille hut, which is about a 100 feet below the mid station that goes up to the Aiguille du Midi. After reaching there I indulged in a much needed coke (I’d ran out of liquid) and then descended down through the wooded valley side into
The next day I decided I would go up to the
The next day I went up the other side of the valley, snubbing the cable car I headed up the path. The other side of the valley was quite misty, although during occasional clear intervals I seen the beautiful rocky spire of the Aiguille du Chardonnet which I hadn’t seen before, I was also gifted with some more fantastic views of the Dru. Although not as busy this side was still bustling with people and the Lac Blanc was quite crowded. I wanted to at least attempt to climb something and I had looked at these peaks from the other side on the previous days. The highest peak was the Aiguille du Belvedere. Had it not been so windy and had I been on the right side of the Lac Blanc I would have at least tried to climb it but It wasn’t until I was about 200 meters above Lac Blanc on the wrong side that I finally worked out from the less than useful map what one was in fact the Aiguille du Belvedere which really hit home how lucky we are in this country at the standard of mapping we have. When I got back to the Lac Blanc I got a Crepe with Sugar then headed down. I came down pretty fast and retired to the tent for the night.
The next day I lay in my sleeping bag as long as I could but at about 10:30 the thermometer on my handy alarm clock type thing read 36 degrees, a figure which I had watch rise from 25, I really couldn’t take the humid heat anymore and was forced to the showers. I didn’t do much this day; I walked into
I got up earlier than the previous day but still quite late the following day, this being my final day I had one or two things to do. I first of all headed into
Setting my alarm for around 6:30 I got up in the numbing cold and packed up all my wet stuff and began the walk to
Sitting on the plane I found my self beside two sunburnt men in there late twenties. I had noticed they had winter boots on but didn’t enquire as the one sitting beside me was sleeping for the first part of the journey. Later on I brought out my book that I had bought in Chamonix (a book by the Alpine club listing the 4000’ders of the
On going to the Alps although I had an enjoyable experience, I found the same problem as I discovered in Zermatt, seeing the mountains makes you want to climb them.