Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chamonix, France

For years I had heard about the legendary town of Chamonix, France.  This place is revered by rock climbers, alpinists, and skiers alike.  It's a cool mix of down-to-earth locals, visiting yuppies, and dirtbag climbers and skiers.

Chamonix lies in a valley at around 3,500 ft above sea level.  But in only 20 minutes, you can be at over 12,000 ft elevation by taking the Aiguille du Midi cable car (gondola).  

Near the summit of Aiguille du Midi

These dudes were in a perfect spot for a silhouette shot as they hiked for some fresh tracks.

Hikers stop for a break at a mountain refuge overlooking Chamonix.

After riding the gondola to the summit, we rode halfway back down the mountain, just below the snow line, and went on a casual hike, where we were rewarded with extraordinary views.

A French snack

The Petit Dru towers over Cassy.  This formation is so aesthetic that I literally took over 100 photos during the 30 minutes it was visible during our hike.  Luckily for everyone reading this, I'll only share the highlights here.

See the lighter gray color on the right side of the Dru?  The scar is the site of massive rockfall in 1997, 2003, 2005, and 2011.

Our hike ended with a ride down the mountain on the Montenvers Railway, a train that operates year round on a steep track from Chamonix to Montenvers.  In the winter, a special train is used to plow up to a meter of snow from the track, an impressive feat considering the track has a gradient of up to 22%.

Fall colors

Cassy and Jess enjoy fall weather in the Chamonix valley

One of my favorite photos of Cassy during another Chamonix hike we did the next day.


Monica said...

Love the photo of Cass and Jess! And you make that camera look small in your hands!

theflammias said...

These are awesome photos. You are just adding fuel to our traveling desires.