TOUR MONT BLANC From Courmayeur to Chamonix-Les Houches
A wonderful walking around the Mont Blanc from Italy to France, through Switzerland.
A short report by images.
An invitation to visit and to explore these very nice places.
A little knapsack, few light clothes to walk always below 3000 meters, a flask,
many many kilos of photographic equipment, cameras, lenses, films, but only if you like to take pictures, - also a tripod if you are brave: thatís all you need.
No problems about the hospitality in the comfortable Mountain huts which are disseminated
everywhere along the footpaths, every times, even in the more crowded weeks.
An international environment walk with you, an itinerant community, people who meet, who separate,
who meet again each other, a communication tam-tam which reach everyone, children, young and old people.
Thatís what you get, if you try to go there, to live such a wonderful and not difficult adventure!
Towards the Bertone hut, starting from the Ferret italian valley, The Grandes Jorasses are still hidden among the clouds. Below the Bertone hut, the Sapin valley and Courmayeur: at sunset the helicopter take waste away.
Next morning the clouds disappeared: we will not see them never during our walk.
We start our walking up towards the pass where we meet some english people who slept during the night in the tents.
The signals are very good: we see the path we walked the day before and we turn right to climb Saxe Mountain, towards the Testa Bernarda.
The Grandes Jorasses appear now magnificent and the Bertone hut become smaller and smaller below us; as a background the Chetif with its cone shape
Some puddles along the ridge of the Saxe Mountains, towards the Testa Bernarda make still more beautiful the landscape.
We are now arrived to the top of the Testa Bernarda and we can see qround us looking at west side:
The "Dente del Gigante" and the "Rochefort crest";
The "Mont Blanc du Tacul";
The "Grand Capucin" and some other peaks behind Torino hut
The chain from the "Grandes Jorasses" to the "Mont Dolent", and the Malatrà Pass, which allows the communication with the "Gran S. Bernardo" valley.
Going down towards the italian Ferret Valley, along the "Armina valley", looking at the Grandes Jorasses east wall in front of usi, we suddenly see three parapente flying down from the top of Grandes Jorasses.
One more looking at the majestic Mont Blanc main peak and at the Brenva wall; then we arrive again to the "civilization": a crowded bar in the italian Ferret valley.
We will spend next night at the Elena hut, in front of the "Pre de Bar" glacier, only few years ago very large, lyon paw shaped, and now almost completely disappeared
After passing over the Grandes Jorasses pass, we go down to the Swiss Ferret valley:
the environment is different at all respect to the italian one, with a lot of tourists and very crowded. Here only shepherds and farmers.
Starting from Champex, where we slept, we are climbing now the very steep valley towards the Arpette pass. At the top, the Trient glacier and the Aiguille du Tour suddenly appear: a wonderful vision.
We go down about 1500 meters and we arrive to the Trient village, below the Forclaz pass.
The day after we climb the Balme pass: the Chamonix valley and the french side of the Mont Blanc appear.
Someone is going by mountain bike!
Along the Chamonix Valley, in front of the Mont Blanc, we see the "Aiguilles Rouges" and the slopes where we are going to climb next days along the paths of the very famous "Mont Blanc balcony". From afar, behind the "Aiguilles di Chamonix", the "Tour Ronde", very close to the Torino hut (italian side), and its North wall.. The majestic Aiguille Verte and the Dru peaks: a wonderful foreground.
Walking along the Mont Blanc balcony we deal with a short rock small wall where some stairs make easier to climb. Arrived at the top, the panorama is exciting.
The whole Mont Blanc chaine reflects itself in the Chéserys lacs.
Still one more slope and we get the "Lac Blanc" and its hut: some chamois are walking in the snow.
Probably this is the best place to look at the North wall of the Grandes Jorasses: as soon as three days ago we were in the opposite side, in italian Ferret valley, to look at parapentes.
Also the "Rochefort" crest, the "Dente del Gigante" and the "Aiguille Verte" create an incomparable view.
Starting from the "Lac Blanc" we go down very shortly to the Flegère hut where we stop to sleep: now the North wall of the Grandes Jorasses, a true altar towards the sky, appears in a different perspective.
At East side, the "Dome du Gouter", normal french way to climb the top of the Mont Blanc.
The "Mer de Glace" glacier, only few years ago a majestic glacier, appears now like a brown farrow.
We are in the hut room and we see the clouds moving themselves around the "Aiguille Verte" and the "Dru" at sunset.
Chamonix shines and suddenly the moon rises up behind the "Dru".
It is the night of the August Bank Holidayand the Chamonix alpin guides arranged a fireworks display at the top of the "Aiguille du Midi".
The day after, the Mont Blanc is always wonderful in the blu sky. We climb towards the Brevent hut, and we meet some parapentes.
Leaving the Brevent hut, we go down about 1700 meters and we get Les Houches: the mountains show is always very nice.
At the Bellachat hut, a little rest and an hot meal.
Visiting Chamonix is obligatory and pleasant.
The historical shop of Pierre Tairraz, the famous Mont Blanc photographer, companion of the great alpinist Gaston Rebuffat in a lot of climbing adventures, deserves a long visit.
Here is the monument celebrating the first climbers of the Mont Blanc, Balmat and paccard: Balmat shows always the top.
That day in Chamonix Tibet was celebrated: everywhere the flags showed their strong colours.
It is time to go back: our bus to Courmayeur is almost ready to leave. The tunnel is closed: a long trip trough Trient, Martigny, Gran S.Bernardo and Aosta is necessary.One more look at the Aiguilles and the Dru.
Going back home, we are thinking that whole Mont Blanc tour has not been finished yet, because the path from Les Houches to Courmayeur, through the Bonhomme pass, is still missing. We cheer up: There is still something to do, the tour is not finished; we will have to go back here another time surely!