Chamonix (& Zermatt briefly) July 6th-23rd

Sat 6th: I arrived in Chamonix early on the Eurolines coach and meeting Gail at the 'Chalet Christol' we decided to go "for a short walk"... up the telepherique to the Brevent (to use the unlimited lift passes we'd just bought)

Fantastic views across the valley!

Then down the "piste" route to Planpraz and then ... along the TMB  to the Flegere. A quick visit to the Index & then down to Les Praz for a beer before walking back to the chalet.

Sun 7th: Along with Dave & Pam, Deirdre & I went up to the Brevent and we walked along the TMB path to the Flegere. Up to the Index to practice with our ice axes & crampons. Back down to Les Praz for some beer and to watch Andy Murray (tennis...) in a hotel bar, then back to the chalet.
Mon 8th: Deirdre & I took the bus to Les Praz & went up to the Index where we went along the climbers traverse down past the Index & up to the Col de la Gliere (2461m), meeting the other group from Clitheroe on the way. The final approach to the Col was banked out with steep snow and it was a challenging traversing climb to reach it. A party following us slipped & fell whilst doing this but happily was not seriously injured and was able to retreat with aid from his companions.
Darkening skies & approaching rain clouds prompted us to abandon our plan to visit Les Lacs Noirs though and we headed down to Planpraz & Chamonix.
Tue 9th: Deirdre, Nigel & I took the Grand Montets telepherique and then climbed the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) up the interesting North West Face route (PD 100m) & then we descended via the North-West Ridge (F+/PD- ~100m) A lovely sunny day and our choice of routes kept us away from the many other teams for most of the way.
Thurs 11th: After a "rest day" yesterday we went up to the Index intending to climb but the cloud was quite low so instead we walked down past Lac Blanc to the Aiguilette d'Argentiere where we both did a climb on it (grade 4b) before heading down to 'The Office' bar in Argentiere.

Fri 12th: Starting out rather late Michael & I still decided to attempt to do the Midi-Plan traverse

Out of the Midi ice-tunnel

We made good time on fairly firm snow to the Rognon du Plan where we abseiled down to reach the snowfield. However this was full in the sun and it was too soft to carry on up the final slopes to the Aiguille du Plan so we made the sensible decision to retrace our route. 

trompe de l'oeil & living statues in chamonix

Sat 13th: Back at the chalet(s) we had to rearrange our sleeping arrangements as some of the group departed so we took another "Rest day". Deirdre & I went to meet up with our friends Mick & Julie (from Yorkshire) in a bar in Chamonix.
Sun 14th: Deirdre & I went up to the Aiguille de Midi station for a look round & then we went back down to the Plan station (2310m). We then walked along the alpine paths to Montenvers & took the train back down to Chamonix.
Mon 15th: Deirdre & I took the bus to Le Tour & then walked back to just below the Flegere station through the woods on some nice alpine paths. Ice cream at the Tre-Le-Champ auberge on the way with some interesting wood carvings nearby. However the descent we took down to Les Praz was horrible... lengthy & steep... it would have been much better to climb up to the Flegere & take the telepherique down!
This ladder didn't seem to go anywhere useful!
Wed 17th: After a rest day yesterday (to recover from the terrible descent into Les Praz!) Deirdre & I did the Cosmiques Arete  (AD 200m) (3842m) along with quite a few other folk... but it was still a fantastic route to do! Later on in the evening we visited Mick & Julie at their place in Lavancher for a nice meal.
Fri 19th: After another 'rest day' yesterday Deirdre & I took the bus to Le Tour and then the telepherique up to the Col de Balme (2191m). We then walked along the Arete de Fer to the Croix de Fer (2343m). Then back to the Tete de Balme (2321m) & down (via marmot city!) to the telepherique.

Sun 21st:  Having met up with the Joint Alpine meet (AC,CC,etc...) & Mike Pinney yesterday at the Attermenzen campsite in the Zermatt valley, I set off up the Trift Gorge with a couple of others to climb the Mettlehorn (3406m). This entails 1800m of ascent but up straightforward (if steep!) paths.

After about 1400m of ascent I began to feel 'extremely tired' and uncertain about my state of health I turned around leaving the others to continue up the mountain, meeting them later at the halfway point where I was resting with a few beers! Back in the valley I concluded that I wasn't fit enough to continue on the meet since all the routes require a similar amount of effort from the valley.

Tues 23rd: Back in Chamonix again with a day to spare waiting for the coach back I headed up the Index telepherique and went along the Traverse de la Crochues (PD)  a tremendous route in perfect condition. Arriving back at the Flegere station (via Lac Blanc) I decided I had time and was feeling fit enough to visit Les Lacs Noir so I headed up the Index Telepherique again to walk along to the Col de la Gliere which was still difficult to get to (steep snow had made it a serious challenge and almost impassable just two weeks before) and on to Les Lacs Noirs where I had a long rest.

Heading back to the Planpraz telepherique I came across two tiny bouquetin who were probably newly born but clearly totally in command of their environment! On the way back the long day reminded me that I wasn't fully fit so it was just as well I was heading back home the next day.

Looking up at Mont Blanc from Chamonix

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