Well it’s been a hectic two weeks and I don’t know quite where to start but I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. So slightly over two weeks ago my younger brother and I set off to Chamonix. Chamonix, the mountain mecca of Europe, the town below Mont Blanc, with views you’d never get bored of and a pollution problem bigger than the town. But for me Chamonix houses something slightly more important, Georgina! She’s there for the summer and invited me to visit with pals. And as i’ve learnt it’s best never to pass up these invites! So Tom, Rosie and I headed to Chamonix for the week.
So we were away! The activity pros that we are we got straight onto the nearest climbing spot, the road side crag of Le Gaillands where we spent many happy hours over the week. For Tom and I this was a great spot because it meant we could get the bus to it whilst Georgina was at work. Also at this spot I managed my first lead climb and my first multipitch! Successful week I’d say! Tom naturally decided it wasn’t challenging enough for him and I became a beautiful belay bunny in some very remote alternative spots! Several severely bitten excursions later I hung up my belay hands.
Needless to say we went on many a beautiful walk. Our first one taking us up to Lac Blanc, and although incredibly touristy it is possible to find yourself a quiet spot, after some myrtle tart and orangina at the refuge first of course! We walked up from the bottom which is about a 6 hours round trip, through cool woodland, alpine meadows and the occasional cheeky scramble. It has to be said part of the joy is the sunbathe on the hot rocks the refuge as we devoured our lunch. Delayed gratification, hey mum.
Now if you have spoken to me in the past week you will know that I walked up a very large mountain with my brother. Mont Buet to be precise. Standing at 3096m above sea level is the highest I have ever got to under human power. For some reason best known to myself I decided that this was to be my birthday present to myself. We set out thinking we were off on a 10 hour hike, we prepared ourselves, this was to be a big day. We had enough food if anything went wrong, loads of water because we were to be above most streams for the majority of the hike and last but not least warm clothes, just incase it decided to be cold. 13 hours, the most exposed ridge line I’ve ever been on, some scree running (or in my case stumbling) and snow trudging we had covered well over 2,000m ascent, descent and a traverse that is forever etched in my mind as the closest I’ve been to falling off a mountain. But we did it! Most importantly we only fought once, a miracle. It wasn’t until the days afterwards that the magnitude of what I had achieved had really set it. Yes my body hurt, walking anywhere was a triumph. I’d pushed my body and my mind to the max, the sense of achievement that comes from pushing your limits and succeeding is best present you could ever give yourself.
The following days were comparatively chilled, with some wandering round Chamonix, climbing, lake visiting and of course la fete de la musique. La fete de la musique is the one day a year when the French bars are allowed to play music outside past 11pm, creating an electric atmosphere and a beautiful evening (and early hours of the morning) of dancing and singing. I also bumped into my chalet manger and re from my first season which once again reminded me of how small the world is.
I would love to return to Chamonix and am seriously considering spending a summer there working. But we’ll see, I might need to learn some french first! And maybe even a cheeky amble up Mont Blanc Massif… the seeds have been planted.