Going Up a Mountain
Trip Start Aug 02, 2010
17Trip End Sep 10, 2010
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The view from the top is just amazing. In one direction only a few kilometres away is Mont Blanc, turn around and look down and way down below is Chamonix on the valley floor. Look down in another direction and there in the snow is the base camp for the climbers doing the ascent to Mont Blanc. Snow capped mountains all around. From this point you can see peaks Switzerland, Italy and of course France.
It was cold of course, but not as bad as we had expected. Temperature was somewhere around 2 - 5 degrees and the sunshine and no wind made it a beautiful day. You could spend the whole day up there, but due to the huge demand, tickets had to be booked well in advance (unless you know somebody) and you are given departure times for both your trip up and down.
From the half way station, it is possible to walk back down to the valley, or walk part way and catch the cog railway the rest of the way. Some people actually walk up. At these altitudes breathing was difficult - particularly if you were climbing stairs or any other strenuous activity. Give yourself time to acclimatise before doing any serious climbing or hiking.
The descent was not as nerve wracking as going up, and it was nice to be able to breathe easily again. From the base of the cable car it is only a short stroll into Chamonix, so that's what we did. Unfortunately it seemed like the entire population of Europe had the same idea. The narrow streets through this beautiful town were just crammed with people. The joys of doing Europe in the peak season.
Tomorrow we're back on the road following much of the 'Route de Grande Alps'.