John and Jack Climbing in Chamonix • June 30 - July 5, 2018


Once again the MacWilliams clan, or at least a couple of them (Thomas had to chose between studying music in Valencia or suffering in the Alps) joined Mark for 6 busy days of climbing in the Chamonix area.

One main objective for the week was Mont Blanc. With this thought in mind, we headed up to the Torino hut for 3 days worth of climbing, and hopefully a jump-start on acclimatization.


Other Trips with John and Jack, and some with Thomas and Tammy.

More Chamonix climbing - July 2017
Chamonix climbing - July 2015
Chamonix - June 2012
Haute Route ski tour - March 2013

Return to all recent trips


On our first day, we climbed La Vierge, a rock tower at the base of the North Ridge of the Petit Flambeau. Here, Jack is just about to start the first bit of rock climbing.


Getting close to the top now. This photo gives a good view of the upper part of the ridge on the Petit Flambeau.


Mark moves around the corner.


And the summit belay. Kathy joined us for this day.


John starts the final rappel to the snow.


We continued on, up the Petit Flambeau and take a quick break to eat and drink.


On our second day, we upped the ante somewhat, and headed for the Pyramid du Tacul.


It is a bit of a hike to get to the Pyramid.


But the climbing is well worth it. Here, Jack moves up the face climbing of the 5th (or is it the 6th, or 7th) pitch. A rope team of 3 can be seen near the center of the photo, far below.


John on the summit of the Pyramid.


And back at the Torino hut, after a big day.


Another early start on day 3. Objective: Entreves Traverse.


A glorious sunrise, but an ominous lenticular cloud.


Looking down the Mer de Glace as we approach the Entreves.


The approach to Freshfield Col, and the start of our climb.


Here, we switch from crampons and ice axe, to bare boots and hands.


The view south.


Only a few more feet to the spectacularly exposed summit.


Looking back a the summit tower. Our route traversed from Left to Right.


And another "back at the hut" photo.


Things were looking fairly good for Mont Blanc. Here, we have just arrived at the Bellevue cable car top station and are waiting for the Tramway du Mont Blanc to take us up toe Mont Lachat, and the beginning of our climb.


The train drops us off, along with 100 of our new best friends.


The sunset from the Tête Rousse hut.


The Tête Rousse has the best sunsets.


Our plan was to climb to Mont Blanc's summit from the Tête Rousse hut, and then descend to the Gouter. Then finally, we would descend to the valley on our third Mont Blanc day. We had a very early start on our summit day.

This photo was taken at about 4 am, from the climb up to the Gouter hut.


A bit higher we were engulfed in cloud. But the rock was dry, and conditions excellent.


7 am or so, we cross onto the snow. Still in cloud.


But a bit higher, tantalizing holes appear in the clouds, as the day dawns wondrously clear.


Climbing up the long, and frankly tedious, slope to the Dome du Gouter.


At the shoulder of the Dome (finally) we are greeted with a great view of the final part of the route.


A close view of the Bosses ridge on Mont Blanc.


Only another hour or so to the top.


We crest the final ridge with two other climbers.


Celebrating on the summit.


Time to descend.


Almost back to the Gouter hut, on our way down.


A "bruised" sunset from the Gouter. With a mediocre forecast for the following day, we planned for a breakfest-less extra-early start the next day.


The view of the Gouter hut the following morning. It had snowed some 5 cm overnight.


Carefully working our way down the ridge.


Slow going in crampons, the whole way. We stopped at theTtête Rousse hut for breakfast, a delicious omelette.


On the hike down from the Tête Rousse hut to the Nid d'Aigle.


The Tramway du Mont Blanc was closed for the section between Nid d'Aigle to Mont Lachat. Though most of the hike down to Mont Lachat is on the rail tracks, this little section was lovely.


Arriving at Mont Lachat a good hour before the train to take us down to the cable car at Bellevue, we chose to walk down.

A much more enjoyable and fitting end to a great week.

Thanks John and Jack, and Congratulations!

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