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

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.

  Tour Ronde

This is shot from the cable car that spans the entire Vallée Blanche. After our climb of the tour Ronde we rode this back to the Aiguille du Midi. The Tour Ronde is on the left and Mont Blanc is behind.


  On the Tour Ronde

Roy and Susan part way up the SE Ridge of the Tour Ronde. Mont Blanc is behind with the Aiguille noire de Peuterey on the left, the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey in the center and the Grand Pilier d'Angle on the right.

From the summit of the Tour Ronde.

We are looking east. Monte Rosa is the large massif behind. The Matterhorn is the sharp summit and the Grand Combin is the leftmost peak.

 Tour Ronde, SE Ridge

From the summit of the Tour Ronde we are looking down the border between France and Italy, the SE Ridge of the peak. Courmayeur and the Aosta Valley lie below.

  Tour Ronde summit

The bronze Madonna on the summit of the Tour Ronde. Mont Blanc and the Brenva Face are behind.

  Aiguille del'Index

This is a view of the summit of the Index, taken from the descent. The Chamonix Aiguilles are behind.


Susan on the SE Ridge of the Index. Chamonix lies deep in the valley. The Chamonix Aiguilles and the Glacier des Bossons can be seen behind.

  Aiguille de l'Index

Susan on our climb of the l'Index.

  The Index

The summit tower of the Index. This shot is looking straight on the descent route. From a ledge a little bit below the summit (reached by downclimbing) a long rappel bring you to easier terrain from which more down climbing is possible. Two climbers can be seen low on the rock.

  The Aiguille du Midi

Taken from near the Cosmiques Hut we are looking towards the Aiguille du Midi. The Arête des Cosmiques is more or less the right-hand skyline. Funny weather is coming in.

  Arête des Cosmiques

Susan moves up the crux section of the Arête.

  Arête des Cosmiques

Here we are waiting for a few other climbers to move ahead. The Arête is very popular, partly because of the great climbing and exposed situations, but also because it is so easy to get to.

  Arête des Cosmiques

The final "pitch" up the ladder to the observation deck.

  Mont Blanc du Tacul

Actually, I took this photo earlier in the week, and not on the day we actually climbed the Tacul. The day we did climb it had originally been planned for Mont Blanc. But at 3 in the morning it was raining lightly and the hut was engulfed in cloud. Later, the weather did improve somewhat, but it was still cold with some new snow on the peak.

The route up the NW Face climbs the broken glacier to the right.

  Refuge des Cosmiques

Roy puts on his boots!

  Dent du Geant

Poking through the clouds blowing hard from the SW.

  Mont Blanc du Tacul

New snow on the glacier and some tough trail breaking made for slow going, but a mountain to ourselves.

  Mont Blanc du Tacul

The final summit rocks on the Tacul.

  Mont Blanc du Tacul

On the summit of the Tacul. Mont Maudit behind.

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