Dick Dietz and Mont Blanc • July 13 - 16, 2014

After a year away, Dick was back in the Alps for a go at the highest summit in the local neighborhood.

We adopted the relatively relaxed itinerary of a 4 day ascent, the "sensible Mont Blanc" as several of our colleague guides call it. Fortunately for us, the timing was perfect, with a rather moist and cool hike up to the Tete Rousse hut on our first day, then gradually improving weather as we climbed higher, culminating with a perfect summit day.

Other trips with Dick

Peru, June 2002
Matterhorn, August 2012

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Waiting for the Tramway du Mont Blanc at Bellevue. The recent rain still hanging from the greenery.


We had a relatively pleasant night at the Tete Rousse hut. On the dinner menu was rabbit in a mushroom and olive sauce, served with polenta, and, of course your choice of beverage.

The following morning, when this photo was taken, we start the climb up to the Gouter hut, the little bump on the ridge in the upper right of the image.


The route up to the Gouter was in great condition. Lots of snow and a good track. The potentially nasty crossing of the Grand Couloir was wonderfully quiet.


Almost up to the crest of the ridge.


Back into the sunlight we get a better view of the new Gouter hut.


The cloud ceiling slowly, very slowly descended.


Despite its modern design, services are somewhat limited. Even with the lack of showers, wifi, running water, etc. we passed a comfortable, if a bit boring, afternoon, awaiting dinner. Tonight's offering was chicken with a side of lentils, and of course, a half liter of white wine.


The main entertainment is gazing out over the cloudscape. A view of the Aiguille du Midi in the late afternoon.


Sunset from the Gouter hut.


Given our schedule, we "sleep" through the usual 2 am wake-up and have a leisurely 7 am breakfast. Here, a bit before 8 am we start out on our climb to the summit.


The initial glacial slope with parties in various stages of ascent and descent.


From the shoulder of the Dome du Gouter, we get a final view of the upper part of the route.

Mouse over to see the line.


Arriving on the summit of western Europe.


And the summit selfie!


A more "proper" summit pic.


And alas, it is time to head down.


Other teams descending the "bosses" above the Vallot hut. Here we are looking NW out towards Geneva.


And back at the hut, in time for a wee nap before dinner.


Another lovely evening cloudscape.


Looking down on the Tete Rousse hut, and the small tent city that is forming with the improving weather.


This night, our second at the Gouter hut, the menu included salmon, on a bed of rice. Yum!


And at about 8 am on our last day, we start our descent back to the valley.


A view across to the Aiguille de Bionnassay, taken from near the Tete Rousse hut.

Other climbers heading up, but we are bound for a softer bed, and even wifi and running water!

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