Monday, October 11, 2010

Chaminoix, France-Sep 12-13

We took the bus to Chaminoix, which is a little village sitting in a valley below Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe.
The town consisted of just several streets of shops, surrounded by lots of hotels and resorts. The area is popular in the winter with skiers and in the summer with hikers.


Mont Blanc in the background.
Max had just finished hiking around Mont Blanc (which was over 70+ miles of hiking in 10 days) and he had started his journey from this town. At the edge of town is a cable car which ascends to Aquille de Midi, another mountain in the swiss alps. We stopped in Chaminoix just so I could go to Aquille de Midi (Max had already been before).


The only way to ascend to the top of Mont Blanc is to hike. Here is a sign pointing out several of the most popular routes.


I walked through this ice tunnel at the top.

The mountain climbers were coming up from below. When they got to the top there was a ladder which they could use to climb onto the viewing platform (the same one where my picture was taken above). The hikers can then catch the cable car back down to town. We also saw little mounds down below in the snow. Upon closer examination they were tents for the base camp for the climbers hiking to the top of Mont Blanc.

Looking out over the valley on the opposite side. Down below is the town of Chaminoix.

Here is the cable car to Aquille de Midi.

I am in the front of the cable car taking pictures on our way down. The cable car was completed in the 1950s and is still to this day is considered to be the steepest cable car in the world.

Lots of people paraglide off the midway point up the mountain.

This is a hostel on the hiking path around Mont Blanc. Within a days walk, all the way around, you will find these little inns for the hikers. Some are dorms, some are private rooms, some are a combination. They all serve meals and there sole purpose is to provide shelter for the hikers.
We only stayed overnite before heading into Italy. We walked the streets visiting the shops before stopping for dinner. We had traditional french fondue with tomatoes and potatoes. Everything is sausage and cheese. I walked into one of the sausage shops and the smell was terrible. I guess I'm not fond of french sausages.

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