Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Holiday 1 - a few days in Chamonix


A long journey down to Chamonix in the land rover today.  Depart from home at 2:00am, and drive to Dover.  Catch the 6:45am ferry, and in Calais by just after 9:00.  Arrived in Chamonix at 7:00pm.

Nice meal out at a pasta place and a new plan for the next couple of days - we will buy a cable-car pass and go up to a couple of the ski stations and to see Mont Blanc up close


So Wife is being brave and is willing to go up to the high point nearest the summit of Mont Blanc

It is actually quite chilly at the top as you would expect and we are totally unprepared for this having not planned to go up so high

Quite a few climbers have died on Mont Blanc in the last few weeks. It does look very exciting walking. 

At the mid-point of the way up, we discovered that there is a walk we could probably do up the valley to one of the glacier sites.  We were only marginally prepared for this too, having little in the way of food or drink with us.  But we decide to do it anyway

Wife strides off in the distance

Looking towards the Dru, a famous site in alpine mountaineering history

Slogging up one steep bit - I am actually feeling pretty good during the walk.  All that triathlon training is working

I imagine that the glacier ha been bigger in the past - a sign of global warming no doubt

We finally crashed out at the café above the glacier for two large drinks and a plate of charcuterie

Back to Chamonix on the pinion railway


Today's trip up in the cable car is to the north side of Chamonix.  There are quite a few possible walks marked from the mid-way station

Just above this station is where many of the paragliders take off.  Some of these are dual flights and Wife is very keen for me to have a go at one of these.  It does look good fun - some of the flights go really high above the valley.

A two-person flight departing

Wife with Mont Blanc behind her

The high point of our walk - a small snow field near the top

Coming back to the cable car station, we are amazed to see a paraglider dangling from the cables that connect the mid-way station to the summit above.  Not clear how they got there or how they have managed to secure themselves to the cable, but they are in some peril I would say.

While we have our lunch, a mountain rescue helicopter appears

And lowers someone down who attaches themselves to the top cable and then lowers another tether down to the two paragliders

This shot gives some idea of how high they were - perhaps 200m above the valley

A second rescuer is lowered down

He has a large kit back which contains a long rope

Which they attach to the two paragliders

and use to lower them down to the valley below

Then the two rescuers make their way down the cables

and get a lot of applause as they leave the cable station

Back in the safety of Chamonix and time for another large drink

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