Emma & James Alexander on Mont Blanc • June 23 - 25, 2010

Father and daughter team of James and Emma Alexander, both from the UK, joined Mark for 3 days and a quick ascent of Mont Blanc. With only a short window of opportunity, we did our best to acclimate to the altitude by spending a first night up in the 3600 meter-high Cosmiques hut.

On our first day we climb the classic Arête des Cosmiques. The second day saw us descending back down to Chamonix early, driving to Les Houches and the cable car there, then up to the Tramway to Mont Blanc, and finally climbing up to the Gouter hut. And on the third day we climbed up and down the Gouter route, descending all the way to Chamonix and a well-earned rest.

Return to all recent trip

James and Emma take in the views from the Aiguille du Midi cable-car.


Descending the east ridge of the Aiguille du Midi en route to the Arête des Cosmiques.


Taking a brief rest on the Arête.


Another group of climbers, with only about 50 meter of climbing remaining.


Emma tackles the final ladder that marks the completion of the route.


After our climb, we went back to the Cosmiques hut, spending the night here and getting a bit more accustomed to the thin air of high altitudes.


Climbers on the glacier below.


The following morning we descended back to Chamonix and took cars, cable-cars and trains to the start of the Gouter route.

This view of Mont Blanc shows much of the route we took on our summit day. The Gouter hut is on the last and lowest flat step on the right-hand skyline ridge. The summit is the snow dome on the left. Roll your mouse over the image to see.


The final 600-meter climb to the Gouter hut.

Again, you can "mouse-over" to see the route.


Breakfast was a 2 am, and we were off by 2:40. There were over 100 other climbers a the hut, which made for a busy and hectic morning.


The view upward, just before sun rise. We are near the Vallot emergency hut, looking a the last 450 meters of climbing.


And a little later, the first rays of the morning sun strike the summit.


This view, taken on the descent, shows the Vallot hut and the upper route on the Arête des Bosses.

Mouse over to see the marked route.


The last 60 (or so) meters to the summit.


Almost to the top. Here, we are looking east towards Switzerland. The Matterhorn is the pyramid in the center of the photo.


On the summit. Perfect weather.


As part of the climb, Emma raised 1800 pounds sterling for the Alzheimer's Society. You can see her web page at http://www.justgiving.com/Emma-Alexander


Starting down, just below the top.


Arriving back at the Gouter hut.


The Tramway du Mont Blanc train schedule was still in the "early-season" mode. With few trains running we were faced with either a 2-hour wait or an additional walking descent of about 1 hour. Though tired, we chose to walk. This gave us a total on-foot descent of over 3000 meters. It felt good to finally get the boots off.

In this photo, Emma starts off from the Nid d'Aigle train station.