Received the watch and packed for travels ahead
Had some business meetings in London so i thought why not take the watch for its 1st little trip with me
Up at 3am heading to Manchester airport to catch a flight over the Geneva then on a coach to Chamonix, this was going to be a long day :(
Once I arrived in Chamonix my hotel had great view of Mont Blanc however most of the mountain was covered by clouds not a great start but we still had a few days before the summit attempt it so hopeful the weather would clear.
Today we would start a 3 days acclimatization trek this would mean we need to get up to higher altitude allowing our bodies to adjust to lower oxygen level and giving us the best chance to summit later in the week.
As i looked out the window this morning Mont Blanc was showing the in lovely sunshine
We drove around to a local ski lift which would allow us a shorter hike up to mountain hut Refuge Albert Premiere (2,706m) this was still a 3 hours trek climbing from 2,000m. The views where stunning as we hike up the mountain
By around midday we reach the hut and well into the glacier, the afternoon was spend refreshing our ice skills on the glacier walking in and around the crevasses
As the night was drawing in the sunset over the mountain was lovely picture
Today would be an early start breakfast at 5am and out onto the glacier by headtouch, by 6am the moon was just setting in the sky and another hour or so and the sun would be up.
Just before 7am the light is raising as the moon is just setting behind the far mountains
Now the real work starts we head up the glacier gaining height with every step, we are faced by 30% headwall so we zip zap up onto a col between two summits both around 3,500m we choice the one on our left which has a nice little rock scramble to the summit
Couple of little shots from the summit at 3,500m
It was great a feeling to summit even though I knew Mont Blanc had another 1,310m on top of this
The plan was now to drop down a little and cross over a high pass into Switzerland to our next mountain hut, this should have taken a few hours and would have given us the afternoon rest however not everything goes to plan the in mountains.
We reached the high pass around 10am only to find a large rock fall where the ice and snow should have been :( after 10 minutes of discussing with our guide we decided our best option was to hike further down and around this would mean a lot more trekking and climbing than planned but it would be safer, so off we went all the way back down the mountain :( only to jump in the car and drive around to Switzerland and climb back up. We finally made to the Trient Hut (3,269m) around 8.30pm after 14 hours trekking a welcome bowl of hot tomato soup and lovely dinner.
Due to the longer than planned day yesterday we agreed that today would be a simple rock scramble out the back of the hut onto a little summit around 3,350m with great views of Switzerland and Trient glacier, we could see over the glacier the summit we reach yesterday morning not that far away :(
For some strange reason the hut had some stone statues outside so I thought good photo shot chance :)
Then an easy walk down the glacier and back to the hotel for mid afternoon.
Once back at the hotel it was time to plan for Mont Blanc
The weather had been looking very mixed with a storm looking like to going to hit tomorrow night, followed by a nice weather window on Thursday but it would mean lots of fresh snow and harder work for us, but our plan was to wait for the weather update at 7am tomorrow and formula a plan from that.
So we wake up at 6am after a good nights sleep eager to see the weather forecast and if we are going to be able to make an attempt at the summit or if we need to change our plans. The latest weather is updated at 7am so it a quick breakfast and pack hoping for the best.
Looking outside the clouds have cleared and we can see a great view from our hotel.
The weather is updated and its good news, there is a storm heading in tonight but we should have a windows tomorrow once its cleared, we needed to get a move on as we wanted to get to our hut for this evening before the storm hit.
So with everything packed up we hit the road over to get a ski lift then onto the mountain train
The train is a nice break from trekking but once it stop we have a 3 hours trek uphill to Tête-Rousse Hut (3,167 m) along with a couple of other groups
Around 10 minute away from the hut we needed to cross the bottom of the glacier no point putting crampons on so a slippy 100m on snow and ice, at the very same point the clouds rolled in and it started to rain so we just got our heads down and rushed to the safety of the hut
Most of the afternoon was spent playing cards and drinking tea inside the hut, with no mobile signal we were unable to check weather or do much but every hour or so another group of climbers would enter from the storm completely soaked and i was so glad we made it before the storm.
Outside the hut in the rain was the owners dogs who loved to bark at any birds who flow near the hut, been a dog lover i thought it was only fair to say hello as i was missing my 2 dogs back home
We sat down around 6pm to discuss our options for tomorrows summit attempt and with the storm easing it seemed like we would have a real good chance as the cloud level was lower than us
Our plan was breakfast at 5am set off as soon after, head to the higher Goûter Hut (3,835m) drop any excess baggage off as we would stopping there tomorrow night, up to summit for around 1pm then back to Goûter Hut for the evening. Fingers crossed the weather for hold for us.
As planned up at 5am some very strong black coffee and breakfast
Packed up and ready to go just after 6am, into the night we set off by headtouch to cross the grand couloir one of the most dangerous parts of the climb, its a simple gully crossing but there are rocks falling from 500m above which bonce around the gully knocking more rocks falling into the path we need to cross, but as we arrived early and the ground was frozen and everything was calm.
Up a large rock scramble with many of the rocks covered in ice so crampons all way, arriving at the Goûter Hut (3,835m) just before 9am, time to dump any extra gear not needed for the summit.
Off again now we had 4 hours of hard climbing ahead of us, 1st up and over Dome du Gouter once we cleared this we could see the summit ridge line which seems to go on and on
Our guide told us there are steep sections followed by little areas of flat for recovery, we would take it slow and steady but I couldnt help thinking that a very long way and my legs where already starting to turn to Jelly.
We now made it onto the Bosses ridges and I couldnt believe how much more distance we had still got to the cover my legs felt more and more like Jelly and on the steep ground you can only take 4/5 steps before been out of breath and needing to recovery, at this point my mind was racing with mixed feelings of can i complete this or can we just turn around, but thinking about the reasons for this trip and loved ones back home I powered on only to find myself thinking the same thoughts 15 minutes later, it was really difficult and lovely at times i thought about my friends and family I have lost over the passed years looking down from just above me giving me strength to continue and push on. The thought of been able to share the good news of a summit photos was great and wearing Matt's watch gave me one more reason i had to push on for the summit.
Finally around 1pm we could see the last steep section and then it would flatten out on the summit my heart started to race and i was grinning from ear to ear we had made it and so had the watch, WHAT A FEELING!!!! We walked onto the summit to see around 6 other climbers who started their descend, so we were left on the summit just us, I sat down and had a little cry to myself under my sunglasses all the emotions where over and we had done it.
Now just the hike back down to Goûter Hut only 3 hours but after 15/20 minutes on the summit my legs where strong again and it was an enjoyable climb down, smiling all the way :-)
I was so happy to see the hut around 4pm
That night I slept like a baby knowing the fact we had completed the goal and a nice cold beer was waiting for me back at the hotel.
Hiking down was really enjoyable we had completed the goal and now was the time to look back and reflect on the last week but also start looking forward to my next adventure, only 4 weeks time I would heading to Nepal to climbing in the Himalayas which would be higher and harder. More training is needed :)
Back at the hotel early afternoon and time for a beer
I traveled home today via Geneva airport so needed to get a few photos of the Seiko next to Mont Blanc watches :)
I hope you have enjoyed this story and hopefully it means a greater value to watch in the future, I loved every minute of our travels together
Thanks to Dave and Take Time Project for letting me take the watch on this journey with me
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