Mont Blanc is the highest peak
in the Alps at 15,780’. I conspired with a friend in Houston to
book a guided summit attempt during the first week in September
This chalet in Chamonix,
France served as home base for the week for our team of 7.
After orientation, we took a van to Italy to climb Gran
Paradiso (13,320’). This would serve as a training climb,
where we would learn to use alpine equipment.
At a restaurant near the
trailhead. I was a bit intimidated by the fitness level of our
group. To my right is Alex Partridge, who was fresh off winning
a bronze medal for Great Britain (rowing) in the Olympics. His
friend Toby (red jacket) is a professional triathlete. Oh great.
Sophie, Mike, and John during a
rest stop as we headed up the trail.
Ibex grazing, about halfway up
to the hut.
A rainy day, but nice views
back down the valley.
Our base camp hut, where we
would stay for two nights.
This spot was rumored to have
cell phone reception.
Hut life. We were to leave
before dawn so had to sleep fast.
We arrived at the glacier just
as it began to get light. This would be my first time to ever
use a rope, harness, crampons, or ice axe. Also my first time to
be on a glacier. Other than that I was pretty much an expert.
Crossing the crevasses,
sometimes on little ice bridges, was definitely spooky. I would
have liked to take pictures, but in those areas my guide was
quite clear: Do. Not. Pause. Here. I got this pic from Alex.