Andy Latham • August 28 - September 3, 2005

Andy Latham of Kalamazoo, MI was back this year for more alpine climbing with Kathy. Our plans weren't fixed on much in the way of specific objectives, other than finding some scenic ridges with great views, for taking photos and enjoying the Mont Blanc massif. There are plenty such ridges, and we had great weather for taking full advantage of the opportunities.

Other Recent Trips

After a morning spent rock climbing in the Aiguilles Rouges, we headed up in the afternoon to the Hotel Tré la Tête, about a 2 1/2 hour walk from the village of Contamines Mont-Joie, to the West of the Mont Blanc massif. Foggy weather persisted, but was forecast to clear soon.


Which it did, just after dinner and in time for the sunset.


The following day we moved up to the Conscrits hut, just down out of sight to the left of Andy in this photo, near the edge of the dry glacier. This hut gives access to the Dômes de Miage, on the lower left-hand skyline. Further up that skyline are the Aiguille de Bionnassay, and the summit of Mont Blanc just over Andy's right shoulder. On our way to the hut, we climbed the Mont Tondu. Andy is standing on the summit, here.


Descending Mont Tondu toward the Tré la Tête Glacier.


The following day, we climbed the Dômes de Miage. Two German climbers follow us up the ridge.


Lovely morning light on the westernmost Dôme de Miage, with the distant peaks of the Ecrins in the background.


Andy on the easternmost Dôme de Miage, with an impressive view of the Aiguille de Bionnassay and summit of Mont Blanc behind. From here, a "mini expedition" is possible over the Bionnassay Ridge and possibly Mont Blanc, taking in a couple other huts. Maybe a project for next year...


A lovely view of the Aiguille de Tré la Tête, as we descend.


After a night in town, we re-ascended via the Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner, to the Torino Hut on the Italian side of the Glacier du Géant. Late afternoon cumulus clouds rise over the Chamonix Aiguilles on the left, and the Aiguilles Moine and Verte on the right.


Approaching the Torino Hut, just in time for late tea.


The next day we climbed the Arête de Rochefort, again in perfect weather.


With Mont Blanc over his shoulder again, this time from the opposite, east side, Andy pauses for the great photo opportunities that make progress stop-and-go along the ridge, at least in weather like this.


An example of the airy mixed terrain along the ridge. The Gran Paradiso in the background.


Andy descends the technical rock section at the end of the ridge, as the fog gathers again.


More of the climbing along the ridge, as we descend...


And yet more climbing... Here is a short ice crux, descended on the way out, here climbing back up. In the background, the Mer de Glace snakes down below the back side of the Chamonix Aiguilles.


Our luck with the weather just held and held. The following morning we climbed the Aiguille d'Entrèves, via its traverse from the Col d'Entrèves.


Climbing along the ridge toward the pointy summit. In the background, the Aiguille du Midi is visible on the left.


The view in the opposite direction, into Italy.


Near the top, Mont Blanc's Peuterey Ridge fills the background.


On our last day we opted for something completely different, high-angle ice on the Petite Aiguille Verte. Conditions were good and icy. Andy makes the ice chips fly on the first, steep pitch.


Climbers on the normal route to our right. Our route joins theirs very near the summit.


Looking down the section shown in the last photo. Another party follows our line up the face.


A forbidding view from the summit, of the north faces of the Verte and the Drus. Looks cold! Autumn is coming fast.

Another night in town, we are joined at dinner by Andy's wife Jan, to his right, and a friend from Kalamazoo to his left. We ordered "big" beers; what arrived surpassed even our thirsty expectations! But oh, well, can't let 'em go to waste...

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