Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orienting yourself around the Plan de l’Aiguille

Was back up to Cham yesterday morning, started from the “Parking des Grepons” and went up a bit over the mid station of the Aiguille du Midi at the Plan de l’Aiguille (aiguille is French for needle). One of the starkest contrasts between the alpine massifs and the Wasatch or even the Rockies in general is 1) how low you start and 2) how high you can go. As an example, here in Annecy I live at barely 1,500’ and when I start hiking from the valley floor in Cham I am at just 3,388’. As a comparison, in the Wasatch we mostly work on the last 3,000’ culminating at about 11,000’, so essentially in the 8,000 – 11,000’ band. As an extreme here you can start skinning/hiking at 3,388’ and culminate at 15,776’ (Mont Blanc summit) a whopping 12,388’ climb! In reality that is rather rare, first because there is only one summit where this is even a possibility, and second because most people will skip the few first thousand feet by using a tram or another mainly because the first few thousand feet are not considered very interesting. In any case we here typically start a lot lower than in the Wasatch and gain a lot of elevation even without doing any laps.

Yesterday I started hiking at 3,388’ and culminated a bit above the mid-station at the Plan de l’Aiguille at 8,100. Once there I took the pictures below.

In the pass between Mt Blanc and the Dôme du Goûter (litterally the "snack dome") and hidden behind is the Refuge (hut) du Goûter which is a stop on the way on the "normal" ascent route when summitting Mt Blanc. That hut is now getting a major makover, to find out more click here
On the picture below note that the distance between Aiguille de l'M and the Aiguille Verte is 3.4 miles. For more info on Aig. Verte click here and for the Dru click here.
Ever heard people tell you about boredom on Canadian glaciers, weell it doen't have to be a universal thing...

More stuff taken yesterday, just because I had it...

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