June 21, 2011

Chamonix, Mt. Blanc, and the Arete de Cosmique

First sortie on the Aiguille du Midi.

Well it's been a busy few weeks since arriving in Chamonix in early June. Between finding a place, figuring out the terrain and fretting over a ridiculous pay-as-you-go phone plan, there hasn't been time for much else. But alas, just finished up a nine day work stint and looking forward to three days off. I didn't get out of bed until noon today and when I did, it took nine shots of espresso just to regain my vision.

I am currently living in a shoe-box in Chamonix Sud, about two minutes walk from the Aiguille du Midi Tram. Although this is a convenient location, there is always the risk of flipping an egg and having it land on my bed. Oh well, I guess it's a trade-off.

I'll be working here and in Switzerland until mid July and then heading to Mt. Elbrus in Russia with Adventure Consultants. Should be back in Canada by early August. The schedule is a little hectic but I'm looking forward to the new and exotic vistas.

Ross B was my tour guide for the first few days. Here he is in Les Praz, just outside Chamonix, looking for the Aiguille du Midi...

Has anyone seen the Aiguille du Midi?

Here I am looking for Mt. Blanc. Ross Berg Photo.

Finally found the tram.

Exiting the ice cave.

The steep exit on to the glacier.

For our first climb, Ross and I did the Perroux Route (next to the Chere Couloir) on the Tacul.

I guess it was in really good shape. Ross Berg Photo.

The next day, I rallied with Team America - Dylan T and Geoff U - to an awesome and obscure limestone crag. Here we have Dylan the Swashbuckler throwing his weight around. Dylan and I started guiding together in 1999 at AAI in Bellingham, WA. We then went on to have an illustrious Alaskan ski-slogging career with traverses of the Tordrillos (10 days) and Neacolas (22 days). These were undoubtedly some of the worst experiences of my life.

Here's Geoff on juggy 7A+. We went to college together back in the 90's.

Last but not least, here's Timmy C guiding me on my first day of work. Tim also guided me on my first Denali trip in 2000.

Day 3 of a 6-day Mt. Blanc course for Dream Guides. Morning view from the Trient Hut in Switzerland. We climbed the Aiguille de Tour on the lookers right.

A slow morning with just ten other climbers ahead of us.

Look at all that granite.

Heading back to the Chamonix valley.

Chamois on the way up to the Tete Rousse Hut on Mt. Blanc.

Early morning on the Gouter Route, Mt. Blanc.

Cool morning light.

Looking up at the summit of Mt. Blanc.

A few days later on the Arete de Cosmique.

A quiet day on the Arete de Cosmique with only 40 other climbers.

Looking up at the Aiguille du Midi from the ADC. Just a little surreal.


Sarah Fuller said...

Nice Pics Wex! Looks like you're having a good time over there.

Some Good said...

Aside from the shoebox apt and the phones it sounds and looks amazing. Love the photos.

Unknown said...

Great blog ... and pics. Hoping you'll help me get to the top of Assinibone one day! :)