Birthing The route
The story starts in late 2015 when Rick approached me about organizing a trek around Mt Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak. There’s a somewhat fascinating debate about whether Russia’s slightly higher Mt Elbrus is in Europe or Asia, but not fascinating enough to expound on it here. In any event, Rick, along with his wife Susan, had a nice group of friends who were interested in hiking the classic Tour du Mont Blanc because of its incredible terrain combined with its great sleepover amenities of soft beds, great food and better wine.
In addition, Rick had trekked with me in the Langtang Valley of Nepal previously and had been impressed with the work of our lead Sherpa, Ang Dendi Sherpa, and so, requested that he join us in France. “Dendi” is easily one of my favorite people in the world, so it wasn’t hard to convince me. And just like that, it was on . . . researching the main route, high routes, hotels, trails, food, airfares, visa letters for Dendi, etc, etc. On August 30, 2017, we flew from Newark, NJ, through Reykjavik, Iceland and onward to Geneva, Switzerland. We were met by a British adventurer named Nick who drove us the last 1.5 hours to our hotel in Chamonix, France.
Jerry & the Skychasers
Day One ~ Getting there
DAY TWO ~ AROUND & ABOVE CHAMONIX, FRANCE
Team Tele-Phrreaky kicked around and above Chamonix on Day 1, enjoying the valley from the dizzying heights that are accessible by cable car and reasonable hikes.
Taking two 10-minute gondolas, we arrive at the pinnacle that is the Aguille du Midi . . . the photo below is a 360; click and drag to look all around, side-to-side and up-and-down. The French know how to make their best places accessible with terraces, restaurants, hallways and glass-bottom balconies.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
To be clear, this is not Team Tele-Phrreaky, but with a little practice, it could have been, or maybe not. Real-life mountain climbers also use our gondola to get a headstart on the climb of Mont Blanc. From here, it’s normally a two-day icy climb to the top of Mont Blanc.
More shots from on high, including a wingsuit jumper prepping to dive off our terrace . . .
And then he jumped . . .
What goes up must come down, and so eventually we take our gondola halfway back down the mountain, begin hiking, and within minutes stop for a hard-earned lunch 🙂 360 below, click and drag . . .
Susan & Rick and a picnic feast high on the slopes of Mont Blanc – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
. . . ending up at the Mer de Glace, or Sea of Ice, a big, long glacier tumbling down into the Chamonix Valley. Our day ends with a tram ride back down into Chamonix and dinner by its glacial river . . .