Sunday, September 25, 2011

The “Refuge Albert 1er”

Was back up to Cham yesterday morning, started from “Le Tour”; that’s way up the valley, your almost in Switzerland now. The hut (refuge in French) is named after Albert the first who was this swell king of Belgium. He was an avid mountaineer with a penchant for Cham and he was no fake either, he undertook some significant climbs in the Mt Blanc massif and elsewhere. In fact he was so real about his climbing that he died of it in 1934 while climbing in the Belgian Ardennes but not before he had taken out time to deed the hut to the Chamonix CAF (Club Alpin Français). Ever since then we have enjoyed this very strategically located hut and a good thought for good old Albert. This is one of 128 huts that the club maintains in France, of which I think about 30 are in or around Cham.

I went up the moraine following the “glacier du tour” and ended up a bit above the “Refuge d’Albert 1er. This hike is a bit over 5,000 feet with some climbing moves in its early part in pretty exposed terrain. Going up the moraine means a shorter but steeper hike so this is a demanding 5,000 feet and your pretty bushed when it’s all over. I made it a loop and went down through the ski resort but although a lot flatter, that turned out to add a ridiculous amount of miles to the visit. However as you can see in the pictures below, you do end up in a spectacular environment (click to enlarge).

Looking back and down at "Le Tour"

Water running off the Glacier du Tour

Lower Glacier du Tour

Nature's way of creating art...

Albert 1er within reach...

Aiguille du Chardonnet 12,542 (3824m)

Albert 1er the winter hut, this one is unmanned but you are wellcome
anytime in winter (there is even bedding ready for you in there).

Aiguille Verte 13,520 (3824m)

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