Kade Spears and Claire Dykes in Chamonix and Arolla • August 14-20, 2010

Kade Spears and his girlfriend Claire Dykes joined Kathy for some alpine climbing and an introduction to mountaineering for Claire. Not too lucky with the weather, they didn't even seem to mind...

Other trips with Kade

Ortler ski tour, April 2010
Silvretta ski tour, March 2009
Cascade de Lillaz, February 2009

Return to all recent trips

As it turns out, Kade had a little hidden agenda up his sleeve.... but I anticipate.


Our first day, we headed up to the Petite Aiguille Verte to learn and practice some snow and ice climbing techniques.


Sliding in the snow, Claire really got into it! Channeling her inner child.

The following day started out nice, but by the time we got to the Albert Premier hut, conditions had really turned nasty. Sprinting up the last bit of moraine to the hut just in advance of a cold shower.

The next morning we had hoped to trek over the glacier to the Trient hut, with maybe a peak along the way. However the frigid rain had turned to snow overnight, and it was blowing damp and heavy as we packed up to go see how it would go.

Ever the optimists, we chose to believe the rosiest of several forecasts we had heard, which predicted an improvement during the morning. NOT! However, Claire seems delighted to be walking in a winter wonderland. It was really beautiful as long as we had enough layers on.

We were definitely not the only ones to head out and try our luck. Many large groups beat in a deep track in the snow ahead of us. Most turned back within an hour or two.

As did we in the end. Well down the trail below the hut, the snow is still falling and the wind is still bitter.

We headed over to Arolla, where we checked in to the lovely Grand Hotel Kurhaus. The following morning was cool and breezy but the sun was shining, allowing us to do a few pitches on a really nice local crag.

Later in the day we did some sight-seeing in nearby Evolène. The village looked beautiful in its summer finery.

From Arolla we headed over the Pas du Chèvre with its famous steep ladders, to the Dix hut. Starting down the ladders.

And then we had some endless boulders to negotiate, eventually crossing the new-snow-dusted dry glacier to the hut (on a knoll in the right background).

This mountain bike enthousiast had an even odder plan than ours, it would seem!

The sturdy, beautiful and welcoming Dix hut was more appreciated than ever on this squally afternoon.

Not only warm and dry, but entertained! Claire had thought ahead for just such a contingency. Kade hits a snake and slides back into the tail position.

The next day was the nicest of the trip, dawning clear and mild for our climb of La Luette.

We started out in the company of a group of Scandinavian climbers and one husky dog.

Kade pauses to capture the peaks reflected in an alpine lake.

Up on the glacier the sun really began to bake.

Reaching the summit of La Luette....

Kade chooses this moment to pop his question, and it looks like the answer is ....

... but Kathy ducked behind a rock to give them a bit of privacy. Averting her gaze, it seems our friend the husky is also discreetly letting the couple savor their moment in peace.

Walking on air down the quick descent back to the hut.

Where the ever-efficient and thoughtful hut-keeper Pierre Sierro had already put some champagne on ice.

A beautiful sunset on Mont Blanc de Cheilon topped off a gorgeous day.

The Dent Blanche catching the last rays.

The next morning it was back up over those ladders.

This lucky little fellow has TWO mountain guides for parents! And a mum who will carry his bear for him.

Back at the Hotel Kurhaus, we enjoyed lunch in the garden before Kathy had to start her drive home.

We've all been looking forward to this, and Kade looks particularly psyched.

Congratulations and Best Wishes to the happy couple!