Disclaimer: some of the facts reported in this article are true.
In July 2016 Natasza and I went to Chamonix for two weeks. We climbed, tried most of the restaurants in Chamonix, we also got cold and sunburned.
It was Natasza’s first time in Chamonix, she was excited to be there. For me it was just normal, I don’t care anymore*. Because I love her, I wanted her to feel comfortable, so I booked a 3 star room in a cosy log cabin**, indeed money is never a problem for me***. Natasza thinks I’m an awesome and handsome climber****, so I took her to scenic and technical climbs***** in the area.
Here is the epic story of this trip.
* I was super psyched actually
** false, we went to a cheap campsite
*** I’m open to donations, send me an email, I’ll give you my bank details
**** this is actually true
***** we chose together the most accessible and moderate climbs around
Everybody knows Chamonix, so I’ll skip the boring and useless description of the town. Let’s just say there are mountains around and wifi in bars.
During our stay we climbed both on rock and mixed routes. It was early in the season, there was still a lot of snow above 2000 meters. Our first climb was in the Aiguilles rouges national park, in the Brévent area. We climbed a classic route with great views. The other climbers we met were not necessary nice: no Bonjour! or any little chat at the belay, cold as ice. They just wanted to go faster than us. The route was nice and easy, a good introduction to rock climbing in the Alps for Natasza.
Then we went on the Mer de Glace, largest glacier in France. You have to take a train from Chamonix (you can also walk, but it’s a long climb and we are too lazy for that), then climb down a series of ladders with rocks falling all around you, pretty cool. We saw some Chinese tourists on heels with little purses and big cameras going down to the glacier, this is why so many deadly accidents occur there. Unprepared folks taking risks. You should at least wear a Patagonia or The North Face t-shirt to look like proper alpinists like us.
On the glacier we did some country moves, jumped over crevasses and ate a sandwich.
Luckily nobody saw us, so everybody still thinks we are true adventurers.
The young gun
There was also Alex Honnold. We heard about him of course, but it was awkward when he insisted so much to have a picture with us and our signatures. We gave him a couple of tips on how to be a better climber.
An other climb
We went to La Gliere and climbed it. I totally got lost after a couple of pitches. I should not write that because I still try to look like a good climber, but who cares, seriously?
We finally made it to the top. We witnessed a big rock fall when we started the descent.
Seriously, everything on this mountain was loose and sketchy. Check your topo!
Some snow and ice
We climbed La Petite Verte as well, a short alpine route. There was a lot of snow and wind. We loved it. Here are a couple of pictures:
The Cosmiques ridge
Natasza and I decided to do this classic route together. I climbed it last year in August, it was mainly scrambling over big boulder, there was no snow. This year was different. Before we could climb this route it rained in the valley for three days, which means it was snowing a lot in high altitude. Apart from a guide and his client, we saw no one during the climb, something that never happens on the Cosmiques ridge. We were lucky.
The first part is the steep ridge from the Observatory, it leads to a glacier then to the start of the route.
We finished the route at 11:30am, we had plenty of time to have beers and crackers.
Once again we were climbing as a couple. And it worked perfectly well. I am glad that Natasza loved climbing in the mountains. Chamonix is a nice place. If you decide to visit in Summer, don’t forget to pack a warm down jacket for the evenings and mornings, we had 6C sometimes in the valley. The campsite Les Arolles is the best option for broke climbers like us. Go there with your girlfriend, boyfriend or anyone you like and trust with a rope and have fun!