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Published: September 12th 2013
Summer in Chamonix
I have been to Chamonix a few times before but only in winter for skiing trips, so when the idea of a lads weekend mountain biking was floated Chamonix seemed the perfect destination. If anything Chamonix is even more beautiful in the summer than the winter!!
As it was the first time a few of our group had been to the alps we decided that on the first day we should get the cable car upto the Aiguille du Midi
viewing platform which is at an impressive3,842 m and offers an amazing view of the Chamonix Valley and overlooks the towering Mt Blanc. You get a great view of the climbers trying to summit Mt Blanc from the viewing platform and the cable car still hold the record for the most vertical lift in the world, it’s quite a ride up and an amazing feat of engineering.
A local guide told us of a walk to the only glacial lake in the Valley called rather imaginatively the “white Lake” it hidden deep in the La Flégère range which faces due south and looking onto Mont Blanc.
to the starting point on La Flégère you need to take a cable car up from the valley then a ski lift up to an altitude of 2,595m then it’s an hour and half walk to the lake. The walk is breath-taking as you are at altitude hiking along a ridge with Mt Blanc and the Chamonix glacier directly opposite on the other side of the valley. The Glacier use to reach right down to the valley floor but now you can see the scar that it has gouged into the side of the mountain as it had retreated to half its original size.
The white lake is absolutely beautiful as it is surrounded by mountains and snow with small icebergs still floating in it, the water looking incredibly inviting especially as it is such a hot day but I only managed to wade in it upto my knees as I thought I was going to get frost bite, it was Baltic!! The walk to lac de blanc was one of the most scenic walks I had ever done but in the heat it was quite tiring so after we descended to the valley floor we decided a few
beers were in order and headed out to sample some of Chamonix famous après ski (but the summer version which is much nicer as you can sit outside in shorts and t-shirt)
The next day we hired mountain bikes but we missed the bus upto the mountain bike area by 10 mins so we had to rid incredibly heavy full suspension mountain bike up to the mountain bike area which is 14km up a fairly steep hill on bikes only designed to go downhill and off road!! By the time we got there we were totally exhausted but the view down the valley was remarkable so we go the ski lift up (with bikes attached instead of skis) and headed down the “professional” grade down hill mountain bike trails. The trails were hardcore and a couple of us took tumbles over the handle bars, but I survived it luckily and there we no broken bones, but plenty of bruises and bleeding from a few of the boys. It was a fun day on the downhill trails and again we missed the bus back to Chamonix village but it didn’t matter this time as it was all down hill. What
took us a couple of hours to do uphill we managed in about 20mins down hill with the four of us tucked over the handle bars like an Olympics’ time trial team as we raced back to Chamonix.
After another heavy night out sampling the summer après ski we woke to fairly heavy rain so instead of hiring bikes again we decided to head upto the glacier and do a glacier walk. You get an ancient old train upto a train station that when it was build was next to the glacier. Sadly the glacier has retreated so much since then it’s a good 30 min walk down to the glacier and into the ice cave which was pretty interesting and sheltered us from the freezing rain which was hammering down!!
I didn’t expect to enjoy Chamonix as much in the summer as I do in the winter but I was wrong, it’s just as good but for completely different reasons and it is definitely one of the most amazing places on the planet, I cannot wait for my next trip this coming winter!!
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