11:28PM | Chamonix-Mont-Blanc | France
We begin the morning with croissants (chocolat and beurre), coffee, and the French Open. We pick up sandwiches, chocolate, fruit, saucisson, and comté. After a dizzying drive through Les Houches just south of Chamonix, we park the car and begin the hike.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 100 mile loop surrounding the massive peak, and passing through France, Switzerland, and Italy. Today’s trek was a section along the north side of the Chamonix valley. Under crystal blue skies, 80 degree sun, and an icy breeze, we make our way up the steep wooded slope, scrambling over rock slides and carefully picking our way through stream-filled ravines. After a few hours of stony switchbacks we reach the summit.
We break for lunch on the deck of the Refuge de Bellachat. The view across the valley is magnificent, with the towering Mont Blanc covered in snow and glaciers. Hang gliders float above us across the gorge, and the town of Chamonix bustles thousands of feet below. We explore the summit, begin our descent, and cross paths with a herd of alpine idex (mountain goats).
Dinner back in town: salad, fondue, and Crozes-Hermitage. Glacier tomorrow.