Ive De Kerf and Wim Desmedt, training and climbing in the Mont Blanc massif • August 23 to 24, 2008

Ive and Wim are two friends from Belgium, who signed up for a weekend of mountaineering instruction and training with Kathy. They "caught the bug" on a recent ascent of Kilimanjaro, and wanted to learn how to do more in the mountains.

Other Recent Trips


We headed for the Albert Premier Refuge, it being in a good training area with accessible glacier terrain and a variety of possible climbing objectives. Here we ride the chairlift toward the Col de Balme, to begin our approach to the hut.


The clouds appeared to be breaking up as we hiked into the warm sunshine.


First views of the glacier, with the Aiguille de Chardonnet high above.


As we get closer, the glacier becomes ever more dramatic looking.


A quick picnic near the hut, and it's time to gear up and rope up.


The clouds hadn't finished though, and managed to engulf us again as we played around on the ice.


The following morning's plan was a climb of the Tête Blanche, to consolidate new roped travel and cramponning skills and introduce some steeper belayed climbing. We began just before dawn, reaching the glacier as the light became strong enough to turn off headlamps.


Sunrise over Mont Blanc in the distance helped wake up our sleepy eyes.


We are not alone! Most of these folks are heading over the Col Supérieure du Tour. Our route takes us over the Col Inférieure, further right.


After some steep and loose rock scrambling up to the "Col Inf", we head into Switzerland, and the hot morning sunshine. Our first two short pitches up the steep NE face of the Tête Blanche, require some real front-pointing on ice. Wim here expresses his euphoria! (or heat? or something else entirely...)


Another steep pitch of snow/ice gets us to a respite at a ramp. We pause to take stock of the climbing above.


A wee bit more ice, a wee bit more rock scrambling, et nous voilà au sommet! The Aiguille du Tour in the background, swarming with folks, but we have our summit to ourselves.


By late afternoon we were heading back down the trail toward town, meeting the eager climbers on their way up.


This was Ive and Wim's first introduction to the Mont Blanc massif. I hope it won't be their last visit. Cheers!