Paul Stillman, climbing in Chamonix • July 7-11, 2008

Paul Stillman came back to climb with Kathy again, this time focusing on objectives in the Mont Blanc massif.

Other Recent Trips

Here Paul enjoys bright (not warm, but bright) sunshine and new snow conditions on the Aiguille d'Entrèves. But I anticipate....


Our first morning dawned dark, damp and threatening. When peals of thunder coincided with the announcement over the P.A. system of the Aiguille du Midi téléphérique station that the lift would not be opening in the foreseeable future, we joined up with another party to drive through the tunnel into Italy and climb rock in the relative dryness south of the crest. After a sudden squall chased us off one route, we waited a bit and got on another.

Showers and squalls were not completely absent here either, but the day improved eventually! Paul rappelling off Topo Pazzo.

The following day we got over to the Italian side of the Vallée Blanche. Here we approach the Aiguille d'Entrèves. The summit of Mont Blanc is the dome in the background, and the Tour Ronde above the three climbers.

Wintry conditions prevailed, but the views could not be better.

A "lasso" on the tiny summit spire serves as a belay for the final moves to the top of the Aiguille d'Entrèves.

From there we continued on to our home for the night, the Torino hut.

The following day dawning clear and cool, we headed up the Tour Ronde.

Conditions were excellent, lots of snow and a cool wind keeping things nicely frozen. Here we approach the last summit slopes.

Paul on top of the Tour Ronde; Mont Blanc over his left shoulder, and the pointy summit of Mont Maudit further right in the photo.

Descending the Tour Ronde, just in time to benefit from the still cold snow conditions.

Next on our list was the Arête de Rochefort, shown here as the morning sun appears over the horizon.

The timing of departure is ideal for morning alpenglow over Mont Blanc, if the weather is right as it certainly was for us.

Three climbers approaching the "Salle à Manger", where we enjoyed a little "second breakfast".

After snaking along the exposed snow ridge for a while, the rocky summit pyramid is climbed direct over loose but easy rock.

A reassuringly good track, still watch your step as it's a straight shot down to the lower reaches of the Mer de Glace.

Clear views to the north from the top.

Paul descending the summit rocks on rappel.

Climbers descending the airy ridge.

Our last day was forecast to be quite wet and stormy, but later in the day so we hustled to get a climb of the Index in, before the rain.

We felt pretty clever as we roped up in the sunshine after a first brief squall...

... but the outlook from the top of pitch 1 wasn't so reassuring.

By the time we were both up the pitch, the rain had settled in. Rappelling back down, already soaking wet, we admit defeat. But it isn't such a bad way to end a great week.