Monday, 15 August 2016

Aiguille du Midi - glaciers, crampons and hard slog

Today it's bright and sunny, a few wispy clouds dotting the sky and almost no wind. It's ideal for a ride on the Freek (Telepherique cable car) up to Aiguille du Midi at 3842m.
We score a cable car at 0930hrs - an organised sardine tin style of travel.

The views are amazing as we climb steeply up the mountainside, past the Glacier des Bossons (a retreating glacier almost certainly caused by global warming) towards Mont Blanc the real 'top of Europe' in the eyes of the French!
The cable car screeches up the final vertical section and we spy climbers getting ready below. It is the Mecca for climbers apparently.

We pile out of the cable car onto a magnificent feat of engineering commenced in 1951 - the platform is enormous and every part of the edifice was brought up by workers who initially had to climb up to commence the building. At 3842m that's quite a task.

Our goal of being near to Mont Blanc approaches - the curved dome looks enticing as it stands starkly against the deep blue sky

Our final stop is at the pinnacle of Pointe Helbronner, 3777m right on the French/Italian border.

We could continue to Courmeyer, an Italian ski resort but leave it for another day. The views are breathtaking of this unbelievable scenery.
We've spent a few hours up here and our ticket says we must depart by 1300hrs, so we are packed back into the sardine tin for our descent, passing over enormous glaciers and cervices.



 As we descend, the cloud tries to cover Mont Blanc but not before we sneak one last glimpse of this impressive mountain
The day finishes in the town square with a pint of lager and half-an-hour of people watching.

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