On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
So the next day, after visiting Aiguille du Midi and hiking much of the way back, we took a gondola up the other side to Planpraz on the Grand Balcon sud (south, again, because it faces southish). We planned a longer hike to the right, if you’re looking uphill, but the weather was threatening. We opted for a shorter hike up to Le Brévent (which is gondola-accessible).
This is looking back to where we descended back to Chamonix the day before. You can see where the cog train goes, and some traces of the trail. Embiggen
That’s our destination for today, Le Brévent. We will hike up the hill to the right and come around the back side of the ridge you can see. Embiggen
When we got to the ridge, this is looking across north-west, deeper into France and Maison de la réserve naturelle de Passy. (I just noticed that on google maps, I didn’t know what it was at the time.) Embiggen
Many times throughout the day we would look back towards Mt. Blanc and Aiguille du Midi (I swear I’m going to misspell that at some point.) You can see Aiguille du Midi to the middle left, along the ridge, and Mt. Blanc is under a blanket. We definitely picked the right day to go up there – we had great views the day before :-) Embiggen
More views to the north-west. Embiggenhttps://surfwoodroad.com/alps2022/images/planpraz-le-brevent/P7040273.jpg
A pano looking north (and north-east and north-west). Embiggen
This is the main path up to Le Brévent, but we spent some time on smaller trails, including climbing a couple of (very) short ladders! The craggy rocks in the near to mid-distance with a little patch of snow, they continue for a bit and provide tons of nice little challenges for local climbers (we saw quite a few). Embiggen
While we were up at Le Brévent, a helicopter was dropping something off… Embiggen
…really? It was dropping off this old piece of junk? They were lowering this thing about 5 – 10 yards away from me – I scooted quickly to the side. It was a bit unnerving to have them plop this thing down right next to me! Embiggen
These mountains are amazing! Where I live, a levee is a mountain.
Amazing pictures and thank you for showing them. An old junk drop seems odd though.
Ah, the memories! I climbed Montblanc almost 50 years ago, a highlight of my alpinistic “career”, such as it is. There is bivouac box some 400m below the peak and then you walk up this narrow ridge to the summit plateau with sheer drop offs either side. We then descended through the mer de glace, winding our way between the crevasses on narrow ice bridges (that’s the apron in the center of the third picture).
@JPL: I think it’s cool!
I initially thought that junk was a turtle.
My guess is, it’s an old diesel generator.
Mai Naem mobile
The first two pictures look like they’re missing Julie Andrews walking along singing ‘The Hills are Alive With The Sound of Music.’
The first photo feels like something from Elf Heaven. Stunning.
@eclare: Oh do I have a story for you!
When I was in high school, I got to participate in a Best of the West marching band group. We all went to Florida to participate in the Orange Bowl parade (didn’t get to see the game since we al got loaded onto buses to go north right after) and see Florida.
We were looking for a convenience store. We asked this older gentleman which way we should go.
“Oh, it’s just over the hill there.”
We looked around confused, as none of us could see any hills anywhere.
I decided to ask, “Excuse me, you said there was a hill?”
“Well yeah it’s about 20 yards that way!”
We looked again to the right where he was pointing. There was a rise in the road MAYBE 10 feet high going that direction.
We all looked at each other, said thank you, and walked towards the berm. Somehow we didn’t bust out laughing until later.
On topic: the Alps are amazing! It makes one wonder how anyone thought Switzerland could be invaded without some massive cost.
What great pictures of spectacular scenery, thank you. I don’t know how you could do any actual hiking. My own personal tendency when I have been in such beautiful places is to spend more time sitting and looking than actually walking.
@Amir Khalid: Yeah, I was figuring it was something like that.
@cope: We keep moving most of the time, but I’m always looking around, and trying not to trip, lol.
Wonderful, thanks for the Alpine tour!
Thanks for this series. It reminds me of the North Cascades (northeast of Seattle) but bigger. The rock, glaciers, and vegetation are very similar, as are the extremely steep slopes. There are no gondolas or cog railways so that’s different.
@TKH: Lots of memories for me, too – I climbed Mont Blanc in 1988. A small correction – the Mer de Glace is not the glacier in the centre of the 4th (not 3rd) picture – that’s the Bossons glacier, stretching down from Mont Blanc towards Chamonix (and one of the standard Mont Blanc routes does cross it). The Mer de Glace is a long, not very steep, glacier that goes from the other side of the Aiguille du Midi round the back of the ridge in picture 2, to end up around the terminus of the cog train that Big Jim didn’t take (far below it, these days, with the amount the glaciers have shrunk). If it was the Mer de Glace you came down, it was a long, long way!
I’ve been up Le Brevent too – the views of the nature reserve to the north are stunning.