Sandy Bartell in the Mont Blanc Massif • September 13-14, 2007

Sandy Bartell came over from New Haven, CT to climb Mont Blanc with Kathy. With limited available time, they hoped to "blast it", hopefully out-running high altitude problems. That was too optimistic as it turned out, but they gave it a good try! And got some other good climbing done.

Other Recent Trips


Sandy is one of them "Chicks with a Pick", that is to say she first met Kathy at the annual Chicks With Picks event in Ouray, CO in February 2005. She arrived in the Alps fit and ready to climb! Here she puts Kathy on belay for the "point of aid" pitch on the Arête des Cosmiques.


Heading out of the Aiguille du Midi lift station for our climb, the weather is beautiful and the crowds light. Chamonix is thousands of feet below on the left.


After checking in briefly at the Cosmiques hut (seen below and behind Sandy), we headed straight on up the Cosmiques Arête. The start of the Mont Blanc Traverse has a very visible track after recent snows.


A pause for a bite and to catch our breath before the crux pitch!.


Once that is safely behind us, we have just a couple of steep pitches on the shady side, and arrive at the top station of the Aiguille du Midi lift, whence we climb back down yet again to the hut. A lot of spiraling on this day!


As we descended this time, we crossed paths with dozens of young French soldiers, getting mountaineering training. An impressive number of these were young women! Cool to see.


Our objective for the day looked to be in good condition, with a clear track up the first steep slopes of Mont Blanc du Tacul. Some of the steps up over these crevasse walls were steep and strenuous, but nothing insurmountable, with a little help from our friends in the dark "cheering us on" from behind!


However, once again the weather was not so helpful. A strong and very cold wind, combined with too fast an ascent to this altitude, thwarted us. We just couldn't race fast enough, and the cold settled in to our bones in the freezing fog and dark.


Already quite a long way below our high point near the Bergschrund on Mont Maudit (upper right in this photo), but still not warm, with every stitch on and the hatches battened down! We stop for a quick photo and hurry on our way.


The clouds, though not threatening, were persistent. Beautiful to watch race in front of the sun, if you could but stand to stop for a moment in the bitter wind.


On our way back up to the lift station, the sun finally began to have some warmth in it.


A good effort; rumor has it that Sandy is already plotting a "re-match"...

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