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A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Midi

A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Midi


Postby mountainstar » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:32 pm

Date walked: 30/07/2012

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Chamonix, French Alps. July 30/31st July 2012.
A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Midi.
With an overnight stay in the Refuge du Requin mountain hut.
With Keith, Martin, Alan & Lillian.


This holiday had been planned for about a year…it was finally here…time to get high in the awesome scenery above Chamonix :) .

Day 1 Montenvers to the Refuge du Requin
Weather. Mainly sunny and hot.


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Mer de Glace

We joined the tourists on the rack and cog railway up to Montenvers (1909m) from this great viewpoint there is a bit of a “Granny stopper :lol: ” to get down to the Glacier, a few hundred feet of metal ladders and ropes lead down the near vertical rock face.

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Ladders down to the Mer de Glace

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Ladders down to the Mer de Glace

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Ladders down to the Mer de Glace

Once at the bottom of these we were soon on the glacier, its good to get crampons on whilst still in tee-shirts and hot sun overhead. :D

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Thats a big one!

After a short walk up the glacier we found a nice deep crevasse to have some fun and games in. After dropping down about 30ft luckily there was an ice ledge to stop on keeping you from going any further down the dark hole next to it. We all had a go of dropping down and climbing out using crampons and ice-axes (Oh and the safety of a rope! :shock: )

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Into the void

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Into the void

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Out of the void

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Out of the void

The next couple of miles the glacier gradually climbed up. The scenery around is breathtaking with giant mountains with cathedral like peaks soaring above.

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mushroom boulder

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Aiguille Verte

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Auguille du Taccul from Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Stunning peaks from Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

As we turned to the right up the glacier the ice steepened and seracs and deep crevasses forced us to turn to the side of the glacier to clamber over the rock moraines. After a short section of this rough stuff we were glad to get back on the ice.

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Crevaces, Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Moraines, Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

Steeper now we edged higher and higher.
The final route up to the Refuge du Requin hut is up a 1,000ft steep rock face, half of which is up metal ladders and aids.

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Ladders up to Refuge du Requin

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Ladders up to Refuge du Requin

We reached the Refuge around 5pm; it sits in a lofty position at 2516m with brilliant views up and down the glacier and stunning views of the peaks of Aiguille Verte, De Monte and Du Tacul.

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Refuge du Requin

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Mer du Glace from Refuge du Requin

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Refuge du Requin

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Inside Refuge du Requin

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Aiguille Verte

I really liked this small rustic hut with its great food, nice rooms and new toilets (a lot better than the hole in the floor we would get in the Albert hut later in the week :( )
We shared it with only about 10 other people which was nice, and again a contrast to a packed Albert hut later in the week.
After a few beers, a good 3 coarse meal we watching the Alpen-glow as the sun set. :D

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Alpine glow, Aiguille du Tacul

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Apine glow from Refuge du Requin

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Alpine glow, Aiguille Verte

We departed to bed for an early night at around 9.30pm, although I hardly slept with the stereo snoring that rumbled through the night to my left and right (I’ll mention no names!) not helped by me forgetting my earplugs. :(

Day 2. Refuge du Requin to the Auguille du Midi
Weather. Mainly sunny and hot.

Up at 6am for an early-ish Alpine start at 7.30am.

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Early morning light, Refuge du Requin

We dropped back down to the glacier, finding our way though a maze of seracs.

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Mer de Glace

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Refuge du Requin looking smaller

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Mer de Glace

Further up Lillian was struggling with the altitude so she and Alan decided to turn back.
Keith, Martin and I continued on up the undulating ice and snow slopes.

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Mer de Glace, Keith pointing our way

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace panorama

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Mer de Glace

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Mer de Glace

Up to now we had only seen 3 other walkers who had been following us, but as we reached the top of the glacier we met the main route across the Mer de Glase that leads from the Auguille du Midi to a high hut and cable-car on the Italy side of the Alps, where many walkers were passed.

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Auguille du Midi

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Mont Blanc du Tacul

At long last the stunning peak of the Auguille du Midi came into view, but as we neared it the slopes steepened and we slowed in the thinner air, but a slow plod got us nearer to the crescendo of the fantastic narrow and steep knife edged arête that leads to the Auguille du Midi cable-car station. :crazy:

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Auguille du Midi

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Auguille du Midi ridge

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Auguille du Midi ridge

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Auguille du Midi ridge

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Auguille du Midi ridge

This last section of climbing is mind-blowing, fantastic death drops on either side, not made any easier by me climbing one handed with a walking pole whilst videoing and also meeting several other who were coming down, thankfully they tentatively moved to one side to let us up. :shock:
I loved every moment of it (I think….through rosy glasses) but it was a relief to reach the safety on the barriers.
So at 1.30pm we shook hands to congratulate each other on getting here safe and enjoying 2 days that will live in the memory as a highlight of our lives for years to come. :clap:
Simply AWESOME. :D

And here is the video, hopefully the last section will capture the aretes exposure:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mth-3EjiNWU&feature=youtu.be
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mountainstar
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby trekker53 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:20 pm

Great pictures and what outstanding scenery. Having been up the Aguille du Midi this brings it all back. I always did fancy that ridge walk. It's beautiful with the blue skies. Fantastic
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:21 pm

Superb! 8)
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby Stretch » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:39 pm

Geez! I've been looking forward to this since your last PM, wow, fantastic sir. The shots of the ridge and those of the crevaces are incredible.

ps, I know that snore. :lol:
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby foggieclimber » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:21 pm

Terrific report :D.
I'm missing the Alps SO MUCH already!

Some really 'interesting' terrain covered in your ascent.
Good to see Martin again, and also Alan & Lillian whom I both met at a couple of UK Climbing meets back in 2007.

Cheers
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:49 pm

Stunning,thanks for posting.
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby garyhortop » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:14 pm

Great Report and amazing photo's - i hadnt realised that there were so many aids as well. I loved the sunset photo's - really atmospheric! :D
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby Gable Gable End » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:42 pm

where is the rain and clag?!?!?

:shock:
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby HighlandSC » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:37 pm

Stunning 8)
Wish Scotland had some more sharp pointy stuff like that!
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Re: A two day trip up the Mer de Glase to the Auguille du Mi

Postby ChrisW » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:36 am

wow, what an absolutely stunning report. Spectacular photos and even more spectacular is the video - love the 'born to run' soundtrack along that knife edge ridge....stunning throughout. You guys move faster at 12,000feet than I do at 8,000 :clap: I'll not bother posting my 1 hour hike up the front of the Athabasca glacier now :roll: :lol:
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