The Small Summit We Could See From the Kitchen Window - Part 1

From the day we set foot in the cabin in the alps, I could not help but wonder if the stars would align for us to reach the summit of the magical Mt Blanc. All winter long, it was there, keeping an eye on us during our multiple training sessions up La Roche Pourrie. It was also there when we raced the Pierra Menta and was always so prominent every time we would climb up any summit near or far.

Mt Blanc is known to be the dream of a lot of climbers and mountaineers and it certainly has been the subject of a few discussions at our dining room table.

With the relatively wet and cold spring in Europe compared to other years, we started to think that we would miss the window to even attempt the climb. Keeping our eyes on the forecast, it finally came: warm and sunny days! En Route to Chamonix!

To warm up, our trip started with a day up Les Grand Montets in L’Argentiere where we climbed up the Y Couloir. The normal route is to traverse on the ridge at the top of the couloir and descent on the Glacier du Milieu but we decided that the snow on the Y couloir was too inviting to descend on the wide-open slope and opted for the narrow rocky corridor with a short rappel at the bottom. Quite satisffied with our first day, we skied all the way down to valley bottom in nice soft and salty moguls.

Photo courtesy of Andrew McNab

The following day, we queued-up with what it seemed like the entire population of France to go up L’Aiguille du Midi… only at the ring of the noon bells did we get in the gondola! We skied down part of the valley blanche and started to gain ground towards the Tour Ronde to reach the bottom of the Gervasutti Couloir. We started our ascent under the warm sunshine, reached the col and left our skis behind to finish the climb to the summit. Soaking-in the amazing view from the mountain belvedere, we could not help but think about the nice descent to come.

Photo courtesy of Andrew McNab

Back to the bottom and back up to the Cosmique Refuge, we decided to descend the couloir just below the refuge to reach the regular climbing route leading to the Refuge des Grand Mulets. We still had quite a ways to go in order to reach our shelter for the night but as the sun was going down, the colors on the endless sea of seracs seemed to become more amazing with every step.

Photo courtesy of Andrew McNab

Finally at the Grand Mulet, the 14 other guests were in bed when we finally sat for our well-deserved dinner. While enjoying a perfect sunset and a sweet tiramisu, we could not help but smile thinking about the great adventure to come the following day!

Photo courtesy of Andrew McNab

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