Turning back the Clock and up the Skyway

We’ve been to the Montblanc region a lot. Skied and walked on both the italian and French sides .. ok mainly skied but we’ve never been up the skyway.

Thanks to Storm Edna or something the Aiguille du Midi was closed and our Chamonix season pass should apparently get us up the Skyway which is just on the Italian side of the tunnel and takes you up to the other side of the Glacier de Geant to the Pointe Helbronner.

It was a stunning day with gorgeous light on the midi and Sun rays peeking out behind the Dru and the Aiguille du Grépon.

First time I’ve caught the sun peeking over the trees like this. We’ve either been away too early in the morning to ski or the weather has been too claggy with no sun to be seen. This was one of my favourite Dru shots.

I’ve now got a whole stack of them and several timelapses after 4 weeks of Springtime lockdown (I think it was 4) and plenty of early mornings with coffee in the garden waiting for the sun to pop over the tree line. This one stands out due to the contrail. The Sky is normally pretty busy over the valley but the last couple of weeks of March and on into April the sight of a plane was a rare one.

During the winter months our lovely season passes get you a massive discount on the tunnel, vaguely annoying that doesn’t work in the summer but that is rather a first world problem.

The Skyway was deserted and after a bit of negotiation up we went.

If you’ve seen The Kingsman 2 .. apparently the skyway gets exploded. Our trip up was much less eventful.

The Spike in the background is the Dent de Geant. Spookily we met our aspirant Guide from the winter adventure up and over the Col de Belvedere (James Clapham) in the lift on the way down. By then he’d become a fully qualified guide and had been off with his clients to scale this beastie. I guess it might have been him striding along the Glacier in the image further up.

Makes me wonder how the guiding community is faring in this stay at home world.

A wonderfully moody Dru which works great in black & white in the evening and para gliders over the Bossons glacier.

Something home cooked for tea tonight and planning to head up the Buet valley to the Refuge de la Pierre á Bérard tomorrow. Retracing our steps from the winter to below the Col de Belvedere from the other side.

Local Pointy bits on VE Day

Not that pointy or that high but Little Solsbury hill of Peter Gabriel fame was looking lovely covered in buttercups, daisies, clover and dandelion clocks.

Got to stay round the edge at the moment as there are Skylarks nesting.

Fantastic views of Bath and a lovely sunset and a zoom with locked-down friends while we we out for some fresh air and exercise.

enjoying the portal to other worlds … she looks like me 45 years ago.

Some nice shots with the little Olympus EM5. It has decided to stop letting me turn it off or on for that matter. I have to take out the battery. A common bug apparently according to the interweb. I did a firmware update but no change.

Spurred me on to buy myself an early birthday present …. But that’s another story.

Still back in 2018

After 3 months playing in the snow we couldn’t stay away. September 16th and most of the lifts have closed but still some opportunities to exploit the season pass.

Down Town
Rose at the Terrace Bar
last light and moon over the Glacier

Up earlyish the next morning and up the Flegere cable car heading for lac blanc. Hoping for pristine reflections but was a bit to windy.

Got tangled up in a flock of goats on the path. I have a couple of Black and White film photos still to be printed of that encounter. Yep dusted off the OM 20 and took it adventuring. The film is developed and have some digital scans but I really need some dedicated dark room time https://back2blackandwhite.com/

Here are some of the best shots … plenty of the Dru of course. Was strange to see the belvedere with no snow after our adventures back in the winter https://badkneeclub.com/2018/03/26/big-mountain-day-out-day-46/

Admiring the Dru
The Col de Belvedere with a lot less snow
and a very green lac blanc
Lac blanc looking blue
Some dodgy looking ladders on the way down
Completely privileged to see this file fella on the way down

And it took a lot longer to get down than planned via Argentierre. Just managed to catch the last bus back to Les Praz

waiting hopefully for the bus
The nose of the Argentiere Glacier

and rounded off with a touristy tea of tarteflette and outrageous ice cream in the Chalet Hotel Le Castel Chamonix in les Praz. Never been in there before it is bizarrely decorated if exotic fake stuffed birds.

Last light on The Dru

Plotting a trip up the skyway tomorrow. Never been up and as the Aiguille du midi lift is kaput our passes should get us up there.

Day 86 and a vist to Le Lac Vert

2nd April 4 days left and time to stretch the legs

What are you doing I hear you cry. Only a few days left and you decide not to ski!

Well you may have a point but I have always wanted to see Lac Vert and it was completely worth it. A lovely wander, great views of Mont Blanc, a Frozen lake and no-one else around. Must come back here in early summer or the Autumn.

Here is our route. Not too shabby for a day off.

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And here’s the lake.

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Back on the planks tomorrow apparently it’s going to snow.

Day 84 and a little local wandering

April 1st and the cloud is down to the ground

A well deserved lie in and a little local wandering as didn’t fancy skiing in zero vis.

Pretty incredible it’s April and there is this much snow still at Chamonix town level. The crocuses are doing a fine job of popping out mind you.

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The Church in Les Praz and the Dru are looking mighty fine as ever.

And the dodgy old Flegere cable car which is gracing these pictures has been replaced this season (2020) am writing this on March 30th 2020 with a completely new system much like the Plan Joran at the GM. No more crazy queues to get up to the slopes.

I’ll take a few snaps of it’s deserted glory in my next 15mins outing in COVID-19 locked down France and post here. A monster of a building and I can’t quite fathom how I’ve not been up to Flegere or Brevent this season.

The weather is looking much better tomorrow so GM here we come.

Day 82 .. into Italy

Ibex hunting

The weather is not up to much today so thought we’d go exploring up one of the Aosta valleys to see what we could see.

So of we set to Valsavarenche apparently one of the most beautiful valleys in the Gran Paradiso National Park. No sign of Ibex and our hope for a bit of walking was dashed due to bucket loads of snow but it was indeed super pretty and the village who shall forever remain nameless was very fine with it’s stone roofs and windy streets.

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Found a spooky snowbound dam on the way

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Hoping for snow tonight and a blue sky powder day tomorrow.