Sandy Bartell and Gini Kramer, climbing in the Mont Blanc massif • August 17 to 20, 2008

Sandy and Gini, buddies from CT, came over to have a whack at Mont Blanc with Kathy.

Other Recent Trips


Sandy (in back in this photo) has climbed with Kathy before, both in the Alps and with the "Chicks" in Ouray, but this was the first time Kathy had climbed with her friend Gini. Here our first day ends in sunshine on the Aiguille de Toule.


It began in freezing fog. Here we "re-combobulate" after descending the exit ridge out of the Aiguille du Midi telepherique top station.


The weather having shut down the "Panoramic" telepherique over to the Point Helbronner, we opted to cross the Géant Glacier on foot. Hoping for views, Gini's eloquent body language expresses her philosophical attitude.


Halfway across, the sun does indeed begin to break through the scattering cloud banks.


Suddenly very warm! We stop to enjoy the views that change from one moment to the next.


We find ourselves suddenly in the middle of the traverse, in extremely impressive surroundings.


Getting a little front-pointing exercise on the Aiguille de Toule, on our way to the Torino hut.


And likewise some down-scrambling drills on slippery rock!


Day two dawns gorgeous to look at, though a cold wind sweeps across the crests up high. We start up the Arête de Rochefort in the lee of the wind.


A flawlessly clear sky brightens over Mont Blanc behind us as we climb.


Climbers returning back the ridge line. This Spring was very stormy and snowy, and this summer has also been cool in general, with frequent snowfalls up high. Compare the state of this famous snow feature, with its state in 2005, shown in the next picture....


A rather striking contrast.


Please forgive the repetition, but returning to the present, the wind sweeping the snow along the ridge was both beautiful, and very cold!


Returning to town for a shower and a rest, we moved on to our final objective, Mont Blanc. The wind-blown new snow creating a potential problem for the Traverse route, we opted for the Gouter route. Taking the train up to the Nid d'Aigle in a light misting rain, we gradually and finally climbed out above the sea of cloud. Here we pass the Himalayan-looking tent city near the Tête Rousse hut, en route to the Gouter hut.


The same recent snowfall and cold temperatures actually helped make the Grand Couloir both less risky than normal on this cold day, and certainly less ugly!


Nearing the hut on the Gouter Ridge.


Ah! Arriving at the glorious Gouter hut! Well, the viewpoint certainly is as glorious as they come!


The following morning was crystal clear, but the strong, gusty and icy wind continued. That, and illness prevented us from summitting, but did not prevent us from enjoying this sunrise near the Vallot hut....


... as well as other spectacular sights and views along the way up....


... and along the way down.


In the end, it's all about getting outside and playing in the dirt with our friends. Until next time, bye bye!