As many of you already know, I quit my job and left the UK to spend the summer in Chamonix, France. This view is why I did it…
It’s Monday morning and I’ve set my alarm for 7:15 – unheard of for me out here. I check the view and the weather forecast was right, it’s another blue sky day in Chamonix. 30 mins of Pilates later and I’m dragging out the hiking trousers from the closet – “not used these in a while” I thought!
Breakfast downed and we’re off, driving up to Grand Montets lift station to catch the 8:15 lift up to the Lognan station. We’re joined on the lift by the usual assortment of people from serious climbers altering their laces to get the perfect fit on their climbing shoes and ice picks sticking out of their rucksacks to Mum & Dad taking little Pierre out in a cable car ride and an orange juice at the lift station cafe.
Out of the cable car and the air is fresh, the trail leads up, up and away. Wasting no time we start the hour long climb to the view point. It’s a wide, rocky double track climb that crosses streams and waterfalls and it’s gorgeous. We can see over to the Flegere cable car station, down to Argentiere and over the Col de Montets and there’s not a cloud in sight!
The view point is something else entirely though. We were merrily climbing the double track when it abruptly turned into a boulder field where someone had helpfully sprayed the rocks with painted arrowed indicating the way. Scrambling up there we noticed at the top that the air was noticeably cooler. Turning the corner we saw why – we were standing at the bottom of the Argentiere Glacier. Words cannot describe it and it completely took my breath away with the shear size of it.
After sitting at the view point for a while in complete silence we noticed another set of signs higher up and decided to climb up there. At the top we were much higher up – level with the top of the glacier and the views were stupefying. We sat on a rock off the trail to allow other hikers to pass without disturbing us as it’s later in the morning by now and Chamonix is busy everywhere at this time. We watched Pascal fly the CMBH chopper up over the glacier several times and reminisced about the time we took that trip way back in 2001.
We climbed down meeting the French Army on their way up with 50 or so men ready to mount the glacier itself. The walk back down took a different route and picked up a beautiful singletrack trail, complete with stream crossings, alpine meadows and all the time the view was super.
Back at the lift station, we caught the lift back down to the car and were back at the apartment not long after midday. The sun is still out and I think I can just catch a few rays on the balcony before the shade comes round – this is why I left England!