May 08 05

We had great plans today – catching the early télégraphique, ski across to the Tour Ronde, tick the North Face and ski the Mer de Glace… However, news of a fatality on that mountain the day before put us off somewhat – a bad vibe! But a ticket was already purchased, so plan B was hastily hatched – ski down to climb some rock below the Envers Hut. We still managed the early lift (not bad for us kats who like to sleep in late). We were early enough to avoid the tourists, the ice tunnel was charged with the silent concentration of alpinists in preparation…

The path down the arete was deeper than a few weeks before, the skis strapped on to Pete’s pack were catching on the side walls of the trench giving the wind something to blow into my face.

The ski down was spectacular, though less powder than last time. The views were stunning – it’s magical up there. The route was a little more precarious as many more crevasses had opened – at one point I heard Pete exclaim, “there’s a hole”, and then silence…. later followed by, “it’s okay, just keep skiing”. I decided to go an alternative way.

My legs struggled on some of the steeper slopes with our heavy packs but we made it to level with our selected route, ‘Les Contes de la Folie Ordinaire’. It took less than two seconds to decide that plan B was also not going to happen as we watched the many little avalanches flow over the rocks! The mountains were alive with rumbles, it was great to watch – from a safe distance.

There was nothing for it but to continue down the Mer de Glace to the Montenver station.

Plans A & B behind us, we descended back to Chamonix as temperatures soared – time for a little siesta on the terrace. :-)

Batteries suitably recharged we decided to head down to Le Fayet for a spot of cragging. Le Fayet upper crag is through a pleasant and cool wood, the book describes the crag as “spooky”, I’d just call it “strenuous”.

There was nothing there I could lead, the routes were steep (overhanging) and the holds were flat; I’d become accustomed to granite slabs. We spent 20 minutes not getting more than three feet off the ground before deciding that perhaps our batteries weren’t as charged as we’d thought. Time to go home for a G&T!

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