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French Alps with Susan Lowery and Roy Zagieboylo • July 29 to Aug 4, 2001
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Petite Aiguille Verte, Les Pointes Lachenal and the Midi-Plan Traverse
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Tour Ronde, Aiguille de l'Index, Cosmiques Arête and Mont Blanc du Tacul

Susan Lowery and Roy Zagieboylo of Glastonbury, Connecticut joined Mark for a week of climbing in the Chamonix area. We enjoyed some incredibly hot and sunny weather as well as a bit of snow and a final wintery ascent of Mont Blanc du Tacul. The weather was so hot in the first few days that simply being out all day on the glacier was debilitating. But, never ones to turn our back on suffering in the name of vacation and recreation we carried on, climbing virtually every day.

They have climbed in the Saas and Zermatt area, including the Matterhorn, this was Susan and Roy's first experience with the Mont Blanc Massif and all its wonders.

  Our first climb, the Petite Aiguille Verte. This is the view from the top of the Grands Montets cable car lift. The peak is difficult to pick out as it is dwarfed by the much larger Aiguille Verte behind. The glacial ice dome on the upper part is on the larger peak. On the Petit Verte we climbed the left edge of the snow, descending the normal right-hand route.


  Petite Aiguille Verte.

Roy keeps the rope away from Susan's crampons on the steep initial snow slopes.

Petite Aiguille Verte

The obligatory summit photo. Chamonix is down in the valley while Mont Blanc is behind on the left.

 Les Pointes Lachenal

For our second ascent we were looking for a short, half-day climb. We settled on a traverse of the Point Lachenal, a route that includes a bit of everything. Starting on the ice slope to the left we finished on the higher peak descending (rapidly) through the icefall debris. The debris is particularly impressive this year.

  Les Pointes Lachenal

In this photo we are coming off the first tower and heading for the larger second peak. By comparing the view of the icefall debris you can probably figure out where we were in the previous photo.

  Les Pointes Lachenal.

Just a typical perfect day in the Alps. The skyline ridge includes, from left to right, les Drus, the Aiguille Verte, les Droites, les Courtes and the Triolet.

  The Cosmiques Hut at sunset. This is one of the nicest huts in the area. And the food is remarkably good!

  The view from the Cosmiques hut, looking the other way. We are looking across the glaciers of the NW side of Mont Blanc. The flat topped step on the skyline is the summit of the Aiguille du Goûter. The Goûter hut and the normal route on the peak are on this summit.

  Midi-Plan Traverse

Putting on crampons just outside the Cosmiques hut.

  Midi-Plan Traverse

Looking toward Mont Blanc from the summit of the Aiguille du Plan. The Aiguille du Midi and the start of the climb, is the sharp needle to the right. The Traverse starts at the Midi (as the name "Midi-Plan" would suggest) and climbs along the mixed ridge crest to where this shot was taken

  Midi-Plan Traverse

A couple other climbers on the route making the first of 2 rappels to descend a rocky buttress. The snow ridge behind continues up to the Plan.

  Midi-Plan Traverse

The summit of the Aiguille du Plan. The Drus and the Aiguille Verte are behind.

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