Martin Horak in Chamonix • September 5 - 11, 2014

Martin Horak, from Toronto, joined Mark for a week's climbing in the Mont Blanc Massif. After what everyone agrees was a generally terrible summer season, we happily enjoyed some good weather and great conditions.

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Our first "warm-up" day included a complete traverse of the Pointes Lachenal, finishing with the Arete des Cosmiques. Here, Martin exits from the chimney on the last Pointe Lachenal.


This photo, taken from the Aiguille du Midi, shows 4 of the 6 climbs we did during the week. On the left, the red line indicates the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entreves, our last day's outing. The magenta line is the Traverse of the Pointes Lachenal, day 1. The blue line is the Contamine-Grisolle route on Mont Blanc du Tacul, day 2. And the green line is the Traverse of Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts, days 4, 5 and 6. Not shown here are the Aiguille du Peigne, day 3 and the Cosmiques Arete, also done on day 1.


Descending from the Aiguille du Midi on our first day.


Looking down to the Piton Nord on the Aiguille du Midi, and then to Chamonix, almost 3000 meters below.


Our second objective on day 1, the Arete des Cosmiques. Mouse over to see the route, a clockwise circle – or tap image on touch device.


Another view of the Arete des Cosmiques, showing the Refuge des Cosmiques, our base for the Traverse of Mont Blanc.


Another party on the Arete des Cosmiques.


Martin enjoying the fine rock on the Arete.


Looking back at Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc (the dome on the right). Mouse over the photo to see the route up on the Contamine-Grisolle and the descent of the Normal Route.


Climbing on the Contamine-Grisolle.


The final summit rocks of Mont Blanc du Tacul.


On our third day, we climbed the Aiguille du Peigne, the rocky summit above the bar. Mouse over to see the route.


Early on the climb, still in the shadow of the peak.


From the Breche at 3043 meters we are back in the sun.


Almost to the crest of the ridge.


Martin at the location from which the previous photo was taken.


Fun climbing along the airy crest.


Martin celebrates on the summit.


Our next climb was the Traverse of Mont Blanc via the Trois Monts. Mouse over the photo to see the line.


Almost dinner time at the Refuge des Cosmiques.


We had breakfast at 3 am, and were out the door at about 3:40. The weather was in and out of cloud with light snow, but fortunately no wind. The new snow from the previous evening's storm made the track a bit difficult to follow.

At Col Maudit, between Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit, we, and another guided party, waited for some 20 minutes to let the light come up and try to determine if the weather was improving, or getting worse. The wait paid off, and slowing clearing skies encouraged us to continue.

This photo shows the route up to the shoulder of Mont Maudit.


Arriving at the shoulder.


Looking back towards Mont Blanc du Tacul, left, foreground. The Grandes Jorasses is the big peak sticking up out of the cloud on the right.


Looking up towards Mont Blanc from the Col de la Brenva.


Sunlight on the southeast side of Mont Maudit.


Photographers in action.


Almost to the summit.


Et Voilà!


Heading down the arete of the normal route.


We stayed the night at the Gouter hut.


A leisurely start to our descent from the Gouter.


New snow from the previous evening made the upper rocks of the descent more amusing.


And finally the Tramway du Mont Blanc and the beginning of our ride to the valley.


On our last day, we did the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entreves.


Climbing along the sharp ridge of the Entreves. Almost to the summit.


The descent from the top was quite snowy.


Looking back at the summit of the Entreves. Ben Tibbetts and his client. Check out his website at for some great photography.


Back on the glacier after the Entreves.


And the final walk back to Point Helbronner and the lift to the valley.

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