Chamonix is a resort area about an hour’s drive east of Geneva, Switzerland. It is in a deep valley surrounded by some of the European alps highest peaks, including Mont Blanc (15,777 feet high). In winter, it is a major ski destination. It is also the gateway to the Haute Route, a reknowned circuit around the Mont Blanc area. That is why I went there.
Driving up from Geneva, the approach to Chamonix is dramatic:
Once you reach Chamonix, you are surrounded by even bigger mountains and many glaciers.
I rented a little cabin for 4 days, so I could enjoy Chamonix while I prepared for the upcoming Haute Route hike by hiking up into the nearby mountains. My first afternoon was spent climbing the ridge you can see just beyond Les Bossons glacier. To give an idea of the scale: I climbed 3200 feet and hiked 8 miles. Getting to the top of this area would require much more!
Some pictures from that hike:
The Chamonix Valley has dozens of gondola and chair lifts. The more minor chair lifts are closed in the summer, but many other lifts are in operation to carry visitors up to the heights to view the mountains and glaciers, and even in September, people are setting out to climb Mont Blanc.
The highest lift is Aiguille du Midi, at 12,676 foot altitude. From there, you can take a ride across above the glaciers to the Italian side. I did that on my second day. It was great!
High above the Chamonix Valley, you can see for miles. Mountain climbers start here to climb Mont Blanc and other major peaks.
Even in September, the temperatures up here are below freezing.
A photo collage:
My local host recommended a hike up on the hill between the tops of two lifts. It was delightful! A photo collage of that hike, including a picture of Priti, a young woman from India out hiking with her parents:
Tomorrow, I will go parasailing for the first time. So today I watched how it goes:
Alas, the winds were not favorable, so the parasail was cancelled.
Coming up: hiking the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.