Saturday, 23 June 2018

LAC BLANC VIA THE LADDERS

Mont Blanc & Lac de Cheserys 

Mont Blanc & Aiguillete de Argentiere 

The Ladders
Aiguille Rouge 

Aig. Verte, Grandes Jorasses & Aig. Chamonix 

Final steps up to Lac Blanc 
Definitely Lac Blanc today 

Busy

Aig. Verte & Les Drus
Another classic day walk from Chamonix today. One of the finest views of the Mont Blanc range is from the beautiful Lac Blanc. Lac Blanc, along with several lower lakes which are collectively named Lac de Cheserys, lye on the opposite side of the valley looking across to Mont Blanc.  The finest way to get to these stretches of water is from the town of Argentiere via 'the Ladders' or 'Echelles'. This series of metal Ladders and narrow ledges go up through a weaknesses in the steep crags which are just beyond the treeline, directly above Argentiere. This side of the valley is named the Aiguille Rouge and is also a Nature Reserve.  It's best known residents are the ibex which you are very likely to see. It was 'rush hour' when I arrived at the foot of the steep ground.  So I avoided the bottleneck and went looking for an ibex or two to photograph, success!  15 mins later and it was quiet up the Iron rung way. Stunning views across the valley.  After the steep ground it's a lovely trail to the lakes.  Lots of snow around, a great foreground again the big mountains across the valley. In my eyes the finest lakes are the Cheserys not Lac Blanc.  You get some cracking views from them and if you're lucky a Mont Blanc reflection. The final 100m or so up to Lac Blanc is in snow. Watch what's coming down from above,  folk bum sliding with not much thought for people below! I survived the bodies hurling down around me and mingled with the masses up at Lac Blanc. Most folk who go to Lac Blanc head up from the top of the Flegere cablecar.  It's always amusing watching folk still heading up late afternoon. Presumerbly they are hoping to catch the last car down. Do they all make it? One of life's mysteries!  Another brilliant day.

Friday, 22 June 2018

GRAND BALCON NORD

Les Drus

Mer de Glace & North Face Grandes Jorasses 

Chamonix & Aiguille Rouge 
Les Drus & Mer de Glace 

Views on every corner! 

Quiet by late afternoon 
Chamonix makes a great base for some fabulous day walks. You could quite happily spend a week here for a walking holiday.  One of the finest outings is The Grand Balcon Nord.  This high level traverse above the Chamonix Valley can be made even easier by using the cablecar and Col railway at either end, making it even easier!  You have to earn your views surely? Well signed trails go through the forest from town and traverses high above the valley floor, at an altitude of 2000-2300m. There was cloud on the mountains this morning but this lifted by mid-day to leave another beautiful, hot day. The walk is best done from SW to NE. If you start late like me then you get stunning late afternoon light on Les Drus.  Les Drus OS a huge pinnacle of rock, a mountain shaped mountain ! Many a climber has had Epic's over the years on this famous chunk of granite. On this walk you can stroll along with hands in pockets and marvel at it's beauty. The classic view from 'Signal Forbes' high above the Mer de Glace is stunning.  You then drop down in long zig- zags to the Montenvers railway and the hardest of sightseers.  Thankfully it's quiet just now. If times getting on you can catch the amazing cog railway back down
 But that's cheating !

Thursday, 21 June 2018

SUMMER SOLSTICE FINISH ON THE TMB

Happy team on Col de Balme 
In the snow again 
Nearing the Col 
Refuge Col de Balme ferme, we can eat in peace
Meadows of Globeflower & Mont Blanc 
Beers to celebrate the finish 

Final day of the TMB for the Chang family. Six days of fantastic mountain walking around Mont Blanc. We finished as we started, in glorious hot sunshine. The last day over the Col de Balme is a short one with fabulous views on the top of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley. A very quiet trail today. Nice without the crowds. A great time to walk the Tour du Mont Blanc. Beautiful meadows of Globeflower on the col, a nice foreground to the distant big Alpine peaks. A well earned cold beer down at Le Tour to finish. This week I have been guiding for Mont Blanc Treks .

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

BOVINE


Martigny and the Rhone Valley
Bovine window flowers
Out of the trees
High above The Rhone 
Alpenrose
Grand Combin 
Penultimate day on this short, 6 day 'best of' TMB. Another brilliant weather day.  Hot sun and blue skies. The 'Bovine Route is no where near has  spectacular alternative to the Fenetre Arppette Route. Looks like there has been some large rockfall /avalanches over the winter. The trail that runs down from the Bisse at Col de Forclaz to Trient has been wiped out. The remaining path is closed.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

TMB DAY 4, VAL FERRET - LA FOULY

The team and Grandes Jorasses 

Beautiful clear skies 
Switzerland here we come
Tackling the snow on the Swiss side
Easy snow
Mont Dolent
Trumpet Gentian
Grand Combin in the distance 

The beautiful Val Venny & Grandes Jorasses 
Glorious blue skies all day again today. Over to Switzerland via the Grand Col Ferret,  the highest col on the TMB . Some big areas of snow on the Swiss side of the col. The Italian side the is only a few very small sections. Another brilliant effort by the team.

Monday, 18 June 2018

TMB LES CHAPIEUX TO COURMAYEUR

Descending into Italy 
Coming up from France! 
Plenty of snow 
Alpine Pasque Flower emerging from the snows
Track to Elisabetta Refugio
Border celebrations 
The beautiful Val Venny
Another glorious day on our third day of the TMB from Les Chapieux to Courmayeur. Over the Col de la Seigne into Italy. The Italian side of the col has huge amounts of snow, all the way down to the access track for the Elisabetta Refugio. Great fun in the snow again. The Chang family getting used to Alpine summer snow conditions and walking in the white stuff.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

TMB DAY 2. LES CONTIMENES TO LES CHAPIEUX

Up towards Col de Bonnhomme 

Col de Bonnhomme 

Snow fun

Change in weather on the traverse 
We love snow
Day two on the TMB with the lovely Chang family. More snow fun on the Bonnhomme.  Change from hot sun to cool and cloudy on the traverse to the Col de Croix de Bonnhomme.  Great to see the ibex in the snow. Rain on the last hour into Les Chapieux .

Saturday, 16 June 2018

TMB AND ANOTHER ALPINE GUIDING SEASON

Snow on the approach to the Col de Tricot 
Domes de Miage and the Family
Alpine Pasque Flower

The ascent up to the Col de Tricot

My Alpine guiding  season has started again. Another summer in the Alps guiding groups from all over the world in fantastic locations. This year I have 3 trips working for Mont Blanc Treks again. A brilliant small company based in The Chamonix Valley.  Today was the first day of a Tour du Mont Blanc. This is an 'Highlights' 6 day trek taking in all the finest days. I have a lovely family from Singapore out this week. Today's Route from Les Houches to Les Contimenes.  Lovely clear morning,  cloudy later. Like most early season treks, there is still some big stretches of snow on the trail. Only a wee bit on the approach to Col de Tricot .