Innes, Père et Fils (David and Brian, that is) au Mont Blanc • September 3-9, 2007

David and Brian Innes traveled from Marin County, CA to climb Mont Blanc with Kathy. David is a seasoned mountaineer, while Brian was just cutting his teeth. In a manner of speaking of course; no (visible) bodily injuries were sustained.

Other Recent Trips


After some snow and ice climbing practice on the Argentière glacier and environs, we headed up to the Pointe Lachenal for some application of technique. Beautiful weather as you can see, though the temperature was arctic, and the winds very strong at altitude and forecast to get worse.


But for now, great conditions prevailed as we acclimatized and got our sea legs on the Pointes Lachenal.


Great conditions, that is, until we rappelled off into the shade! Brrr.


Brian follows Kathy onto "the dark side".


The rising wind chased mists and cloud, making for a kaleidoscope of shadows on the snow.


In the Cosmiques hut that evening, we were warm and cozy behind the obviously quite effective thermal windows. A nice place from which to watch the sun set.


The following day, it was more steep snow and ice practice on the Aiguille de Toule, and more icy wind! Here Brian begins to lose sensation in his toes and fingers as the bitter cold becomes really unpleasant! At least we broke out into the sun here.


And then it was a jog for the Torino hut in the continuing wind. We had time to duck down on the cable car to La Palud, in Italy, for a warm-up (relatively speaking) and a pizza!


The following day, back up and over the Aiguille du Midi (the ridge is really knife-edged this year!) and to town for a rest and recuperation, before tackling the "Big One".


We caught a late morning train to the Nid d'Aigle, and after a last bit of lunch at the nearly new Nid d'Aigle restaurant and refuge (shown here), hiked up to the Tête Rousse hut for the night.


Along the way, completely tame and unconcerned, local Ibex watch us march by.


We enjoyed yet another unbelievably colorful sunset from behind the Tête Rousse hut.


Brian stays in touch with home...


While the rest of us go crazy with the digital memory cards.


And yes, it really was this color! Brian and David will bear me out on this.


After all our acclimatization, and the hurry-up provided by the still very strong and glacial wind, we were quite high on Mont Blanc the next morning by the time the sun got over the horizon. Pausing briefly at about 4600 meters, we found we had caught up with the climbers starting from the Gouter hut. When WILL that sun come up?!?!?


Oh... that's better. A little bit.


The end at last in sight, we still had to bear the ice crystals in the face carried by a strong cross wind on the summit ridge. Just a few more steps though.


After quick summit shots, we found a little shelter for a bite and a sip before heading down.


But these folks were REALLY nuts! On the other hand, they had had a good lie-in and were just now rising, with the sun. So who had the better idea? Hmmmm...


Descending back to the Vallot hut, the sun finally has some real warmth to it. The valley fog begins to thin out over Chamonix.


As we descended the Dome du Gouter, we saw this very interesting situation we had traversed under in the dark, and wondered how many more hours until it topples? We scooted under this baby as fast as we could.


Just a little bit of wind-affected snow that caught my eye in passing.


As is often the case, the descent from the Gouter hut proved long, complicated by traffic, and rather tiring. We gave up on the autumn-shortened Nid d'Aigle train schedule, and called the Nid d'Aigle refuge for beds for the night. This allowed us to take our time and "enjoy" our return to the land of rocks and plants.


And quite nice beds they were! We had a good dinner in the company of about a dozen other climbers in a similar situation, and slept like babies until the first train of the following morning brought us back to town.


Despite the cold of the week, we had great luck with the climbing and the views. Brian and David were off to the Mediterranean to recover and relax with the rest of the family!

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