Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tour de Mont Blanc

So the last post is what happens when I, Nora, go to bed early with a nasty head cold and Peter stays up too late drinking pivo in Budapest. We will get to Buda and Pest later.

Last week, the 19th which I think was Wednesday?, Ricky, Peter and I decided to break the bank and take the tram up Mount Blanc to Aguilles De Midi, 3842 m, over the glacier and into the beginnings of Italy. The rain clouds had finally blown out and unfortunately so had Simon and Kathy. We were hoping they would have stayed to enjoy the day with us. Up we went! With each second the view became more and more spectacular. I believe that 5 min into the trip we all agreed that while the price was dear, it was euros well spent. At Aguilles De Midi we were treated to the sight of folks much hardier than us who were mountaineering out on the glacier. Some were setting up tents in the pristine blanket of white, swhile others were climbing up rock needles simply because they were there. Ricky pointed out the Matterhorn to us, some mountains he had run up previously on his trip. We could not have asked for a better day. We marveled at the French will and engineering that went into building this place into the side of a rock spire on the top of a glacier. Seeing those who were mountaineering also made us question whither you should have to work for a view like this. Have humans ruined the mountain by building these structures and trams? Our doubts were somewhat put to rest by seeing all the 70-80 year old ladies smiling next to the fit 20-somethings covered in ropes and goretex who were smiling as well but at their most recent conquest.

We then boarded a smaller 4 person tram, or suspension over the abyss, you know what ever one wants to call it. Our breath was taken from us. I think that our/Rickys pictures will do a much better job than I at explaining this trip.

When we got over to Helbronner, 3462 m and a cold 4 c, a small station that straddles the boarder between France and Italy. We walked down the stairs that warned us of the imminent danger ahead and out on the glacier itself. I am happy to report that I can cross, standing on a glacier, off my things to do in life list. We opened our bottle of 1 euro wine and combined with the lack of food and excess of altitude, all felt quite cheery. A nice Spanish mountaineer took our picture before he was off to conquer the Mont, not the -pelier kind. On the way back we poured some wine out for our hommies, Simon and Kathy who could not be with us on this trip.

Back to the Skiers Refuge for a HUGE curry dinner and Rickey was kind enough to treat us to some Mont Blanc beer, which is made with eau from Mont Blanc. Though I am pretty sure in Chamonix that just means tap water. We discussed politics and world events with two other travelers, Michael from Oregon and Jason from England. We must have all left something on the Blanc since it was an early night for us all.


dad said...

Hi Nora and Peter: We love reading your accounts. I had a great trip to Ireland last week with Tom, lots of hiking on the headlands on Dingle Bay. Great weather! Love from me and mom Dad.

Stephanie said...

Snow! I'll miss that.

Nothing but summer from this point on for me though. I'll be in Australia by Oct 17h.

alan said...

Now THAT's my kind of blog post!
...Al B.