We decided to try to do what Wired did…. see sunrise over Mont Blanc. Going up the cable car is one of the most popular things to do in Chamonix and the crowds get huge and the waits get long. We got up early and were 1st in line for the cable car ride up Aiguille du Midi (3,842 meters), which is right next to Mont Blanc (4810 meters). At 6 am when we got in line we could see the mountain without clouds.
The first cable car leaves at 7:10 and by then clouds covered the peak. It was still magical up there and well worth the early start.
Since we were in the first car there was no one already up there except employees. There were many who were just starting their climb up Mont Blanc. It seems kind of weird to jump start a climb with a cable car ride but the next 1000 meters are plenty hard.
Once out of the cable car there are several attractions….. viewing decks, “Step into the Void” plexiglass overhang, climbers’ museum….. all included in the €60 price of the ride up. Plus there is a gift shop, cafeteria and restaurant.
We went into the plexiglass “Step into the Void” and had our pictures taken.
Later the coolest thing happened. In the gift shop a man walked up to me. He had taken a photo of Jim and me from outside the plexiglass.
He looked like a runner and I asked him if he was running the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. He was. His name is Wataro Lino and he won the Badwater 135 mile Ultra last month. It was really fun talking to him about his training, sponsors and his work. He is living in South Carolina now working for Freightliner.
Later I looked at the photo Waturo Lino had taken. The reflection of the mountain on my face is kind of creepy….
Back in Chamonix we walked thru the expo featuring about 50 more ultra runs from all over the world plus all the associated shoes and gear any ultra runner could ever want.
We had an excellent lunch at Hot Dog Artisanal. The name of the place made me not want to stop but then I saw the food. It was delicious. And no dog was in mine.
So happy you took us back to that place we went with Wired!!
The mountain reflection is odd, but it gave Him 🐱 cat whiskers.
I just read earlier today that when Wired and E meet up, Chamonix is in their sights.
Jim, not Him!
So glad you went! That guy taking the photo was cool and it would have been fun to be in Chamonix for the UTMB excitement.
Congratulations on completing the Via Alpina! It sounds as though Chamonix was the perfect place to celebrate. We are on Day 3 1/2 of 13 stages (allowing extra days to climb some via ferratas) in the Dolomites hiking the Alta Via 2 which is spectacular. Currently it’s snowing a blizzard and expected to last through the night. We stopped at Passo Gardena and were chased off a via ferrata by thunder and lightning plus rain and hail. Now nice and cozy in the local 3* hotel, enjoying the wintry scene and looking forward to a fabulous dinner and breakfast but wondering what’s in store for tomorrow with several feet of snow. The mountain weather continues to astound–guess that we could be stuck in worse places! Enjoy your GR20 hike and will be eagerly awaiting your next posts.
Thank you. We start tomorrow. Have fun. Keep the updates coming.