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French Alps with Alan Maurer • July 19 to 21, 2001

Alan Maurer, of Salt Lake, joined Kathy and Mark for 3 days in the Mont Blanc Massif in late July, 2001. The weather had been particularly nasty for most of July and there was a large amount of snow all over the peaks. Our trip coincided with the end of winter, July 20 and the beginning of summer, July 21. Our goal was Mont Blanc via the Traverse of Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit, however, the marginal forecast and the wintery conditions encouraged us to change our route to the Gouter.

Climbing up to the Gouter hut was remarkably dry weather though we were often in cloud. But that evening the snow began to fall in earnest and it did not let up until about noon the next day. So, prudence being the better part of valor we all retreated to Chamonix to nurse our woes with a fine meal at the Panier des Quatre Saisons. Joining us for dinner was Alan's wife, Gloria, Helping us to celebrate Alan's birthday!

As the weather improved that evening, we did the Cosmiques Arête on the Aiguille du Midi the third day and enjoyed perfectly clear skies.

  Wintery conditions just above the Tête Rousse hut on the way up to the Gouter Hut.


  Alan and Kathy on the way up to the hut.

  "Routefinding" on the placemat at the Gouter hut.

  Another climber and guide descending from the Gouter Hut the following morning. The new snow that fell during the night made for interesting going.

  Crossing the the Grand Couloir on the way back from the Gouter Hut. The local "authorities" have placed this steel cable for climber security. This couloir has major problems with rock fall in the midsummer and has been the sight of many accidents.

  Alan, and his wife Gloria, enjoying breakfast in one of the several restaurants on top of the Aiguille du Midi.

  The upper part of the Cosmiques Arête. The route passes through a hidden notch in the big towers.

  Alan and Kathy on the Cosmiques Arête.

  Looking up toward the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. The climbers are all on the Cosmiques Arête route.

  The last and rather strange finish to the route. Climbers need to be careful not to injure the tourist as they swing their legs over the guard rail.

  Gloria, Alan and Mark after the climb.

All images, layout and text ©2001 Cosley & Houston Alpine Guides, All Rights Reserved