With its 4800 meters (15,700 ft), this is the highest mountain of the Alps – the roof of Europe.
This was my third attempt climbing this mountain. The previous two efforts were thwarted by unfavorable weather conditions.
Challenge 2, the mountain guiding services of G. Mardon, email: email@example.com, arranged for Eric, our experienced and very safety conscious guide.
Due to ice avalanche danger on the so-called “Midi” or “Three Mountain” route (2 climbers and a guide perished in such an avalanche only a few days before our summit attempt):
it was decided that we climb the “Gouter” (normal) route. This means spending one night in the new”Gouter” refuge which sells out months in advance of the summer climbing season.
It is a long hike from the tram way station “Nid d’Aigle” to the “Tete Rousse” refuge and then up the rocky, partially with ropes secured, face to the “Gouter” refuge. It also involves traversing the very dangerous “Grand Couloir”
Fortunately, when we crossed the “Grand Couloir”, it was in sleeping mode on the way up and down.
As it is essential to pass through the “Grand Couloir” as early as possible during morning hours, we departed from the “Gouter” refuge to the summit at 3 a.m.
After 4 hours of climbing up the “Bosse” ridge, we arrived at the summit for the sunrise around 7 a.m.
We enjoyed the endless views from the summit for 30 minutes. Then it was a long way down to Nid d’Aigle where we finally took the tram way, leaving at 3 p.m.
This is technically not a very demanding climb but the descent from the “Gouter” to the “Tete Rousse” refuge was challenging to me. Summit day is long and tiring. Good fitness is the key to making this climb enjoyable and not painful.