Matt Croy in Chamonix • July 9 - 14, 2010

Matt Croy got back over to Chamonix from his home in Connecticut, for a re-match with Mont Blanc — his attempt last year was skunked by very high winds on summit day. He spent a few days doing some training and acclimatization with Kathy, and then they moved on to the summit attempt (successful this time! Yay!).

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Alps 2009

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We started with some cramponning and playing around on the Mer de Glace. Matt tops out on a steep wall.


The next item on the agenda was some glacier travel and crevasse rescue practice, which we did on the Tour Glacier near the Albert Premier hut. Matt carefully approaches the edge of the "crevasse" that Kathy has "fallen" into!


Matt's trip took place in the middle of a period of mostly fine weather but with instability that led to some exciting weather in the afternoons and evenings. We could watch this particular weather coming in, from the safety of the hut terrace.


The following day dawned clear enough for our climb of the Aiguille du Tour.


After crossing into the Col Supérieure du Tour, we pass into the warm sunshine and Switzerland.


On the summit rocks, we cross paths with parties already descending.


Although we had company, this popular climb was far from crowded on this particular morning. Some climbers descend below of us as we approach the summit.


Matt takes his place on the tiny summit. In the background (left to right) the Chardonnet, the Aiguille Verte, and finally Mont Blanc.


More views eastward into Switzerland from the summit. Although it's a bit too hazy to make them out, visible in the distance are the Grand Combin, and a whole bunch of the high peaks around Zermatt.


So now it's off to Mont Blanc. Our plan A was to sleep at the Tête Rousse hut, climb to the summit from there and on our descent, stop for the night at the Gouter hut, where we could sleep late (-ish) and finish descending at our leisure on our last morning. Here Matt pauses for breath on the steep rock buttress below the Gouter hut, as the first light of dawn begins to glow.


It was a very blustery and gusty day however with thick fog blowing by. We greet some of our fellow climbers who have already been out beyond the Gouter hut (shown here) and decided the weather was too nasty.


After hanging out in the Gouter hut for some time, waiting for the weather to improve enough to go on, we at last decided to give it a try. The winds on the ridge above were quite strong, and the visibility was not great, but it did feel good to get out in the exciting weather.


Although hard to walk in, the wind made for a beautiful sky-scape of fast-moving broken clouds and sunlight.


In the end however, it seemed a bit silly to fight on against the elements, especially as the upper mountain remained solidly covered in thick dark cloud. We retreated back to the hut, to spend the night and see if we might be luckier the following morning.


Which we were, as it turned out! The wind was still there, but much abated, and the skies were clear. Matt stops near the Vallot hut as the first gleam of dawn shows its color.


About mid-way through the "Bosses" ridge, where high winds had stopped our climb last year, the weather looks great and the crowds light!


Sunrise from about the same place.


Though far from calm, the winds were low enough to allow us to climb the summit slopes and ridge without too much anxiety. Nearing the summit now....


And we made it!!!

Heading back down with light hearts, we'll have great conditions for the descent as well. Sometimes persistence pays off!