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Published: July 30th 2006
They are beautiful mountains up there!
The view of the Mont Blanc Massif from Tete de la Tronche (Mont de la Saxe). I think it was the Grand Jorasses there, but you wouldn't care, would you?
Wow we had one hard day... It started with an easy walk down Italian Val Ferret. At some point we saw the entire mountain side above us ruined, all the trees cut. Ron said it looked like an avalanche and then he pointed to the right and there was the avalanche - a huge pile of ice, covered with mud, scary to think what happened to everything that stood in its way!
At some point we started climbing but it wasn't too hard. It’s only 800m to our first col of the day (col means a mountain pass in French). It was called Col Entre-Deux-Sauts, pass between two jumps, although we couldn't figure out why. The second pass of the day required a short descent and again climbing up, but I took it easily thinking it's my last ascent for the next 2 days... Boy how I was wrong... When we reached Col Sapin I saw the path climbing steeply to the right. The book revealed the truth: this is the way through the famous Mont de la Saxe, considered to be one of the best parts in the TMB. I seriously considered giving it up (there’s another way for the
Pre de Bar Glacier in early morning
Just in front of Refuge Elena where we stayed the night
lazy ones) as I wasn't ready for more climbing! Or in fact, it was the descent that followed that scared me most. But eventually I summoned some energy and climbed up this 'hill' called Tete de la Tronche, at 2584m. I couldn't regret for a second. The view was absolutely awesome. I was even inspired to open the map, go down on my knees, and identify all the peaks in front of me. They were so clear and so close. From there we walked along the ridge and whenever I could raise my eyes from the path I admired the grand mountains at the other side of the valley. And then the nightmare began... We descended from that peak at almost 2600m to the town of Courmayeur at 1226m in about the shortest possible or in fact impossible route. 1350m down. My toes were asking for mercy, my ankles wanted to resign, my leg muscles were praying but the route continued and there was no choice but to go on. We reached Courmayeur in the worst shape... It was a nightmare, did I say that already?
At least we had a nice private (triple) room for the night, we had
Consulting the book on the way
(Yeah, Dana had an excellent guide book)
splendid Italian ice-cream, and our dinner was in a nice little restaurant with our friends that we see already 5 nights. Until now there were many of us together in the evenings, all the people who booked the package like we did (for the accommodation and bag transfer), but this morning we said goodbye to all those who chose the 7 days version, and stayed only with those doing the 11 days full tour. So we are a nice group of 7 people only, and the nice dinner together, with plenty of wine (on the house!), was certainly reviving.
Tot: 1.597s; Tpl: 0.053s; cc: 18; qc: 73; dbt: 0.0385s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb