Alps - August 19th-29th 2001

 Andy & Deirdres Chamonix Alps Trip, August  2001  

Day 1: We set off up the Flegiere-Index teleferique a little latish but made good progress on this 12 pitch route with only the last pitch giving us food for thought. A spot of lunch and a glance at the watch decided us to head for the telepherique instead of doing the Index as I was optimistically planning...

Chapelle de la Gliere 2663m Arete Sud AD+ 400m

Pitch 8 is the infamous 'Razor Passage'

As we came in sight of the Index station we noticed it looked closed down and looking at the watch we found it had stopped! It's a long walk down and it was no fun walking through the lower forest paths in the dark...

Day 2: An incredible thunderstorm overnight required us to dry out the dampness in the morning sun, but another rain shower caught us with the inner tent outside and so we spent all day drying the tent and resting!

We stayed at the very nice 'Mer de Glace' campsite at Les Praz where the Pizza van calls every Tuesday and Friday night. We eat in Chamonix and Argemtiere cafe/restaurants a couple of times but our favourite spot was the Auberge La Bagna which was less than half a mile from the campsite. Their accommodation looks very nice too, click on the logo to see their website.

Day 3: We headed up the telepherique again and walked up to the Crochues and did the East Face of the Petite Crochue (2840m, AD, 130m), finding the final pitch very difficult with its polished start. We had lunch and drank in the fabulous scenery and then descended westwards climbing down a steep 30m chimney as hordes of people climbed up it...This time we made sure we caught the telepherique down!

Across the valley towards the Aiguille Verte and the Drus

Day 4: Taking the bus to Argentiere we headed up the Grand Montets Telepherique and climbed the Petite Aiguille Verte (3508m, PD,) This was our introduction to the white stuff  (Why is it that only the British climb the final 50m along to the true summit?)

View of the Petite Verte from the Grand Montets

Day 5: An early start on the bus to Chamonix and then up the Midi telepherique to the Midi station.

Gearing up we walked down the intimidating snow arete and around to the start of the Cosmiques Arete (3800m, AD) amongst fantastic scenery. We made good time up to the abseil pitch where we waited for 3 Frenchmen as they discovered that down-climbing an abseil pitch was a poor decision... Carrying on this long route we conquered the difficult wall by hook and by crook! Lunch on the viewing platform amidst all the sightseers was somewhat strange but very welcome!

Mt Blanc through the trees from the TMB path below the Aiguilles Rouge

Day 6: Using our free bus pass once more (a new idea in Chamonix) we went to Le Tour and walked leisurely back down the TMB (Tour de Mont Blanc path) and then down to Argentiere for coffee.  After a good break wedecided to walk back along the Petite Balcony to Les Joux where we stopped to do a few routes on the bolted area there. Four interesting routes and then down to the road for the bus back.

Day 7: Bus to Chamonix and the telepherique to Plan Praz. We walked up to the Clocher et Clochetons de Plan Praz (AD) where Deirdre absorbed the rays while Andy soloed those routes suggested by Rebuffat.

Top of the Petite Clocher

Day 8: Up the Index telepherique to finally do L'Index de la Gliere (2595m AD- 100m) which was made a little more interesting with a double abseil off the end to get past a french group who were teaching one of their party to abseil...

The Index seen from the Chapelle de la Gliere

We then walked along the TMB to Lac Blanc:

Then on down the Argentiere path to the Aiguillette where I soloed the easiest route while Deirdre rested until I'd reached the top and then set off down the path...

Aiguillette d'Argentiere

Day 9: With the weather report indicating at most two good days before very poor weather arrived we decided to do the Gouter route up Mont Blanc
We set off to Les Houches by bus, up to Bellevue by telepherique at midday, then the tram up to Les Nigle and the long walk and scramble up to the Gouter Hut (3817m)

Day 10: We set off at 2.55am and arrived on Mont Blanc summit (4807m) at about 8.05am, well after sunrise but very pleased to find we didn't have any more uphill to contend with!

One happy mountaineer!

Day 11: At last a proper rest day! We both needed it... frustratingly the weather stayed fine all day and the rain only came in during the night....but 2 days later it was still raining, a poor forecast and the thought of all that soft fresh snow decided us to bale out and head home.

Two of the routes we didn't do, the Aiguille de Chardonnet and the Aiguille d'Argentiere

Two indispensable books!

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