Wednesday, 3 September 2008
On the summit of Mont Blanc
A two thirty in the morning wake up at the Goutier refuge, so by three we were ready to go and James, Alex and I made good progress walking up towards the summit. These photos show the events of the day.. and one of the young men had to rest and remain at rest at the Vallot emergency refuge with some slight altitude sicknes .After seeing him safely ensconced and wrapped up warm I guided his brother on to the summit. Altitude, give you a sore head, a huge feeling of sickness and simply drains all one's energy away. So, it was obvious that the normally effervesent chap who was now weak and pale faced had reached his limit for that particular day and just could not go any further. Sleepless nights at the crowded hut, snoring, sweaty fellow mountaineers and the change of diet, plus the altitude had taken its toll! Still he was cool and relaxed and was polite and willing to let his younger brother go onward. Sheltering in the Vallot refuge out of the wind is Ok if you are feeling weak and tired. There were some blankets to keep one reasonably cosy, ( not so clean really and certainly not a five star Hiltonesque venue) .It was an ace day outside and we arrived on the summit around 6.45am. On our descent I turned around and got this nice photo of looking back up towards the summit. As you can see it is quite a steep ridge, not just an easy rounded lump as it appears from the streets of Chamonix.
On the way down we went by the Vallot Refuge picked up our friend and he was fine but lacking in energy. He made good progress and as we descended into the thicker air he became stronger and stronger. We had a quick drink at the Goutier refuge and then descended the rocky ridge and got across the infamous boulder alleyway of the couloir before the stone fall commenced and got the 13 30 rack railway train from Nid d'Aigle back to Bellevue and then the cable car down to Les Houches. The lads were back at the hotel by 2.30 pm or so. A fantastic effort!