Amy and Jeannie Boebel • July 21 - 26, 2009

Amy's graduation gift to her daughter Jeannie, a climbing trip in the Alps with Kathy, had been planned for last year, but had been post-poned. This year they made it!

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Their arrival happened to coincide with the Tour de France's passage through the Mont Blanc area. We took part of a day to cheer on the riders as they climbed a hill near Sallanches during the tough mountain stage from Bourg St. Maurice to Le Grand Bournand.


Arriving early, we walked up the hill to the village of Arâches, where a party atmosphere prevailed.


Expectant crowds are undaunted by squally thunderstorms.


We too carry on, with new Tour de France umbrellas!


Lined up and waiting for the "Caravane" (the parade of swag wagons tossing goodies to the crowd in advance of the riders).


And here it comes! Local newspaper sponsors dress up their cars for the race.


And the usual gaggle of support vehicles drone by as the sun finally dries the pavement. It was a thrill to see the peloton cruise up this relatively "easy" hill, looking like they were having an afternoon stroll.


So, on to the climbing! Amy and Kathy climbed the Pointes Lachenal. Amy poses here with the Grandes Jorasses and Dent du Géant in the background.


Amy descending into the notch between the first and second "Pointes".


Amy gobbles up the steep mixed couloir to the top of the highest "Pointe".


Sadly, Jeannie arrived with a killer cold that just would not quit, so had to sit out much of the alpine climbing. Here she sees her mom off on a climb of the Aiguille d'Entrèves, feeling well enough to ride the téléphérique and enjoy some views.


Amy on the approach up the Géant glacier.


Starting up the traverse of the south ridge, we can almost (but not quite) make out Courmayeur several thousand feet below in Italy.


Cold and snowy conditions prevailed on the NW side of the ridge, while the SE side was dry. Amy balances on the narrow fins of this scenic ridge.


Preparing to belay Kathy on the short but strenuous crux move of the route.


The pointy summit behind her, Amy seems to contemplate flying back down!


Finally Jeannie's cold seems to be improving enough to risk a day out. She joins us for a climb of the Petite Aiguille Verte. Here we ride the Grands Montets lift to begin the climb.


Alas, another problem intervenes: conditions are just too dry and icy to be reasonable. Crowds of other climbers knocking all manner of ice and rock down over the route don't help the situation. Kathy decides it's too much to risk for the reward, and that another climb later will be more suitable. Jeannie looks philosophical as we head back down toward the lift station.


As a consolation prize, we have lunch in a shady glade at the beautiful secluded restaurant of La Crémerie near Argentière.


As we finish a delicious Fondue aux Chanterelles, Amy gets creative with the garnishes.


OK, hit the "re-set" button! We'll finish up with a climb of one of our favorite classics, the Cosmiques Arête on the Aiguille du Midi. Anyone visiting Chamonix with climbing plans, really should try to get on this great route. Jeannie and Amy appear un-fazed by the exposure on the exit ridge from the Aiguille du Midi lift station. Chamonix basks in the sun about 9000 feet below.


Cold and snowy conditions, plus a bit of lucky timing, made for a tranquil ascent with few other climbers nearby. Jeannie clambers up the easier scrambling down low on the route.


Sunny rock in the lee of the ridge, mmmm, it's warmer here.


Checking out the views, we have Mont Blanc du Tacul in the background, then the Grand Capucin, the Tour Ronde...


These two make a great team.


A tricky step around a ridge near the top.


Jeannie approaches the last pitch of the climb.


And takes in the grandeur, basking in the end of the difficulties.


The exit ladder doesn't count....


It was fun, but time for the Boebel Gals to head on on to their next adventure.


After lunch in Chamonix, that is! Bon appétit, Jeannie.