Sunday, July 4, 2010

Grand Balcon du Nord

And on Tuesday we took the first stage of the Aiguille du Midi telepherique to Plan Aiguille (the second stage goes on up to the Aiguille du Midi, which we have done at least a couple times before), in order to do the Grand Balcon du Nord trail. This trail crosses the area between the Glacier des Bossons and the Mer du Glace, at tree-line, just below the famed Chamonix Aiguille (big pinnacles, hundreds of them). Normally, one takes the telepherique up, hikes the trail to Montenvers, then takes the Montenvers train back down. Alas, rockslides had closed both the train track and the trails down from Montenvers. We wanted to do the hike, so we decided to walk in the direction of Montenvers as far as we wanted, then walk back and take the telepherique back down. Vicki notes that this trail is far better than the Sud, less gravel, etc.
Lady of Pain I adore you...this is how the baguettes get to
the refuges, cafes, restaurants, up high (stepping off the

The upper stage of the telepherique--enlarge
and you'll see a cabin decending from near
the top

Another view


Alpine donkeys with dreadlocks; seriously; Vicki theorizes
they are intended to protect the donkeys' eyes, like
sunglasses; I believe they are merely another French

Chamonix below and part of the Aiguille

Randonneur Vicki

Beneath some of the Chamonix Aiguille

More warning and signage

The trail down to Chamonix really was closed (not that we
wanted to walk down 4,000 feet)

Vicki stopped at this point, not wanting to over-do her knee
(she's doing well); I carried on to Montenvers and its great
views, this of the Dru, one of Chamonix' many landmarks

And of the Mer du Glace, the Grand Jorasses, and more of
the interior

The whole area is cairn-city, big cairns

But the prize of this hike was grabbing this discarded sign
(with permission) for our sign collection back home

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