Alpine Climbing in Chamonix • July 1 - 6, 2017


Father, John, and son, Jack, of the MacWilliams Clan, joined Mark for 6 days of climbing in the Chamonix area.


Other Trips with John and Jack

Chamonix climbing - July 2015
Chamonix - June 2012
Haute Route ski tour - March 2013

Return to all recent trips


John and Jack arrived in Chamonix just at the tail end of a cold and wet spell of weather. Even though the precipitation was a welcome sight in a summer marked by heat waves and disappearing snowpack, the new snow created its own challenges.

On our first day we chose a relatively safe option, the East Ridge of the Aiguilles des Grands Montets.


After descending the glacier a short way, we round the foot of the Ridge to access the start.


Looking back the other direction towards the Col des Grands Montets.


Another team and the start of the rock climbing.


Not many moments later, the weather demonstrates her unpredictable nature, and it starts to snow.


Higher on the route, more semi-clearing skies.


And the summit photo.


John reaches for the very dangerous handhold.


For our second day, we had hoped to traverse the Aiguilles Marbrees. However, due to cloudy weather and wind over the Italian side, the Panoramique lift (needed to get close to our objective) never opened.


So, it was off the Gaillands for a bit of rock climbing.


At the belay.


John tackles the final moves on l"Arête, a Gaillands classic.


The following day, our 3rd, was perfect. Picking up where we had left off, we head to the Marbrées. This is the view from the summit of the Aiguille du Midi, as we traverse the peak via cable car.


The Aiguilles Marbrées. Our route was more or less up the left-hand skyline, the east ridge, then down the south ridge, hidden from view.


Climbing on the east ridge.


The ground gets easier as we near the top, but with more new snow on the rock.


And the obligatory summit photo.


We encounter a bit of traffic on the last technical descent to the glacier.


One pitch of downcilmbing to and anchor at the fellow in red, then an easy rappel to the snow.


Easy walking back the lift at the Helbronner station.


On day 4, we did the Arête Laurence, and the Arête des Cosmiques. on the Aiguille du Midi.

Mouse over to see the line.


On the Laurence.


The crux slab on the Laurence.


After a pass-through of the Cosmiques hut, we continue up the Cosmiques Arête.


Taking an amusing, but seldom done alternative, we descend a short steep couloir. The climb continues up the slabs and chimneys in the distance.


On days 5 and 6 we climbed the Gran Paradiso, a 4061 meter peak in Italy. We spent the night in the very comfortable Rifugio Chabod.


Looking up at the Gran Paradiso (summit in the cloud) from the hut.


A lovely sunset from the Chabod hut.


4:30 in the morning, we are done with breakfast, and starting our climb.


Some hours later, we still have about an hours worth of climbing.


The view from the summit rocks.


The Madonna, John and Jack. Who's who?


The view on our way down.


Just to make things a bit more interesting, we descend to the Vittorio Emanuele hut, where a fine lunch awaits.

Thank you John and Jack for a great week!

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