June 27, 2014

Flying from Mt. Blanc De Tacul and other Chamonix Hi Jinx

From left to right: The North Face of the Midi, The Tacul, The Maudit and Mt. Blanc. I took this shot after launching my light weight wing from the Tacul summit ridge. A pretty amazing "ploof" aka sled-ride as the French call it. 3100 meters and 35 minutes. 

After a two year hiatus, I've returned to Chamonix for the summer guiding season. Despite the jet lag and missing the homies back home, it's good to be back. There's not too many other places where you can wake up in town at 6:30, summit a peak 3000+ meters higher by 11, and return to town before noon. 

The morning I left for Chamonix, Sara and I went for an early morning hot lap on the classic NE Ridge of Ha-Ling. Although I've done the route numerous times and have taken this same shot almost every time, I've never been early enough to catch it in full sun. It's pretty cool how the same feature can look completely different depending on the light.

Sara coiling the rope on the summit.

While climbing a route on the south face of the Brevent yesterday, I took this photo of a paraglider flying in front of Mt. Blanc. Can you spot the wing?

British Mountain Guide Stu climbing the 8 pitch La Fin De Babylone (6C) on the south face of the Brevent. I think they got more sun on the north face of the Midi then we got on the south face!

A few minutes before this shot was taken, two wingsuiters buzzed over us and proceeded to carve down the long talus slope below.

I guess I wasn't the only one who thought it would be a good day to fly off a big mountain. These three guys were pretty much ready to go when I crested the ridge of  Mont Blanc de Tacul. The light weight wings and harnesses are incredible these days. My 19 meter wing weighs 2.5 kilos and my harness weighs 700 grams - and by today's standards, that's hardly even light anymore. I decided to  carry my reserve chute as well which adds about 1.2 kilos to the kit. Conditions were ideal with fairly firm snow and a very gentle / non existent breeze out of the SW. 

The Bosson glacier is a long way down.

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