The Small Summit We Could See From the Kitchen Window - Part 2
If you missed it... Read Part 1 Here.
1:15am… Woken up by some loud German voices, we started to second-guess our idea to not get an alpine start to the day. With most of the groups being on their skis by 2am, Andrew and I both were thinking that we may have just compromise our chances to get to the summit that day… would the weather turn on us? Would it get too warm to travel under the broken icy faces?
When we got out of bed many hours later, the sky was clear, the wind was light and the conditions were more than ideal for the journey to the summit. At 8 am sharp, we started to ski our way pass the Bosson glacier and onto the ridge to gain the Dome du Gouter. There was only one section where the ice was so shinny we could see our happy smile in it. It was maybe a bit more steep to climb and probably took us more time then heading directly on the Bosson Glacier but the route has huge overhead hazards that we did not really want to have hanging above our coconuts!
Finally at the dome, we quickly gained the Refuge Vallot, which is just above 4300m for a quick lunch break. From there, it was an easy but hard 450m walk. The ridge was simple to follow with minimal exposure but the elevation made each step more challenging than the previous one!
Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the 4807m mark living fully in the moment of the accomplishment. We sat there looking at the alps, looking at the peaks and summits we had become familer with, and feeling the warm energy from being on the highest mountain in Western Europe and touching the sky… what a moment!
From there, having our skis with us all the way to the top, we proceeded to descend the icy and wind affected North East Face before getting into the true North aspect where the powder was. Then it was downhill for a whopping 3800m, with every snow condition from cold powder to nice heavier snow, from crust to totally isothermal slush, until we reached the France/Italian Tunnel near the valley floor where the snow turned to dirt. 20 minutes walk on a trail and a river crossing later, we were back to where the adventure first started.
Back at the cabin and still with our head in the clouds, the first thing I did when I got out of bed the following morning was open the kitchen window shutter to have a look at the little summit in the horizon. I smiled with satisfaction and kept on staring for a long moment, revisiting in my head the precious moments of the adventure we just had.