Wednesday, October 2, 2013


An early rise and we were on the road to Chamonix from Annecy by 8am. We had been looking forward to seeing Mont Blanc, catching the cable car and finally the lift, to the summit. The day was perfect to view the Alps as there was not a cloud to be seen.


Before long we had turned off the motorway and were heading up the valley to Chamonix. Nearby were the Italian and Swiss borders. This was a spectacular journey with snow covered mountains on either side of the road.

As we started to climb towards Chamonix ( 1000 metres above sea level ) we passed waterfalls tumbling off the mountain cliffs, crossed a huge and very high viaduct and drove through two long tunnels before arriving at the large Chamonix car park situated just as you come into the town on the right ( watch out for the big Aiguille du Midi sign). We were surprised by the lack of cars parked here ( in May), but gladdened by the possibility we might not have to queue for long at the Cable Car.

After a short walk we soon had our 50 euros each tickets for the L'Aiguill du Midi cable car.
 A ten minute wait and we were on our way to the summit standing in the cable car with about thirty people shoulder to shoulder.
Now the cable car has two pylons, one at two thousand metres and one at three thousand metres. The first pylon arrives after a steep trip from the ground with stunning views. On arrival here you change cable cars.
There is a flat ridge here with a little cabin that is a bar with tables outside surrounded by snow. I think this is for very hardy skiers !

We were quickly in the second cable car heading for the second pylon at three thousand metres. This leg was nearly vertical and a lot of ooh aahs could be heard !


This pylon is situated on a rock pinnacle with a three story building built around the rock. There is a viewing platform on top, restaurant, shop, and cafeteria with glassed walls providing stunning views. This is all accessed by a steel staircase on the outside of the building. Not for someone with a fear of heights!
The Mont Blanc summit is another rock next to this and joined by a ten metre bridge. At this stage we were both feeling a little light headed and dizzy from the altitude.

On crossing the bridge we entered a tunnel that split into two.
We followed some serious skiers with backpacks and rock climbers with ropes slung over their shoulders through the tunnel until it opened out onto the snow. There before my eyes I watched them walk down a razorback ridge with death on either side to a ledge where there was a tent on the edge of a cliff where someone had spent the night ! Hope there was no sleep walking !

We headed back to the second tunnel where a nice lady shuffled us into a lift and we were soon heading through the middle of the rock to the pinnacle of Mont Blanc. We stepped out of the lift at 3800 Metres to a viewing platform that took our breath away.
A perfect clear day where we could just see the Matterhorn and snow covered mountains as far as you could see.



Mobile phone connection was great so we couldn't resist phoning the family back in Australia to tell them where we were !!
When we had had our fill of this beautiful scenery we headed down to Chamonix only to find that the first cable car had broken down for the first time in 20 years and we had to be evacuated by helicopter.
Needless to say this was an adventure in itself !
We shared a wood fired pizza for lunch, then walked around beautiful Chamonix taking in lovely cafes and shops all with the backdrop of mountains and a glacier.
The main shopping and cafe precinct was closed to vehicle traffic which made it like a very large mall. As you would expect a heavy balance of shops here were ski, climbing gear and clothing related.
Again we had missed the crowds as we visited in May and as you can see from the photos we almost had the place to ourselves but would love to return in winter to see the lovely buildings covered with snow and the lively ski scene.

The huge glacier just behind the village

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