September 9th
2009
written by Alonna

I’ve heard there are tons of chair lifts and gondolas in the Alps, but I don’t know how they could top the Aiguille du Midi.  Two lifts take you from the town of Chamonix, straight up the mountain to the top of a 12,000 foot peak, right next to Mont Blanc.  In the photo below, the pointed peak on the left is where the cable car climbs to.  Mont Blanc is the tallest snow-covered peak in the middle.

Aiguille du Midi (sharp peak on left) and Mont Blanc (tallest one)

I’m not usually afraid of heights, but this cable car ride got my heart beating!  At the end it’s almost completely vertical.

Cable Car ride up Aiguille du Midi Cable car ascending Aiguille du Midi The steep climb up

The views from the top were amazing, and we had great weather so we could see really far.  We made our way around to a bunch of different viewing areas, and had fun watching the rock climbers and hikers.  We even saw a couple paragliders take off from a ridge at the top.

Tallest mountain in the Alps (Mont Blanc) Alonna Ben's in the bottom corner Viewing platforms Ben Bridge to get to the taller peak Rock Climber Hikers at the top

At one point, we asked a man to take a photo for us.  He had a really nice camera and a big tripod, so we thought he’d do a good job (selecting the right person is crucial).  He tried using our camera but wasn’t happy, so he asked if he could use our compact flash card in his camera instead.  He proceeded to take a bunch of professional quality photos of us.  Score!

Alonna & Ben with Mont Blanc Ben and Alonna in the Alps

After that, we rode the cable car half way down and got off to hike.  We basically hiked across this entire ridge (first photo below).  At the end was the Mer de Glace glacier.  Each year a cave is carved into the ice, allowing visitors to actually walk inside a glacier.  It was a little touristy, but still I thought it was pretty cool just to be that close to a glacier.  On the way down, there were signs showing the level the glacier used to be at – it’s amazing how much it’s shrunk just in 10 years.  Also, the glacier is still flowing downhill (90 meters/year) so you can see where the previous ice caves were carved.

We hiked across this ridge Ben Alonna and Chamonix Mer de Glace Glacier Going to the ice cave in the Mer de Glace Glacier level 2000 Inside Mer de Glace Looking out of the glacier

4 Comments

  1. Robin Scott
    09/09/2009

    WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! How very awesome! You both look great.

  2. Mom Albertus
    09/09/2009

    OH, MY GOSH!!!! Those are the most incredible pictures I’ve ever seen. Looks scarey! Now I want to go to the Alps! I can’t imagine living in that town at the bottom of such an incredible place!

  3. Sandra Capri
    09/09/2009

    cool!!

  4. 09/10/2009

    Thanks ladies, I think we just had the exact perfect weather to get these good photos. Mom – yes, it was scary! On the way up, for some reason the cable car stopped for 3-4 minutes. It was at the very worst place, when we were close to the top hanging right next to a sheer cliff. No idea why it stopped, but I was freaking out a little.