Sunday, August 14, 2016
Girls on Le Tour.
Millie and Honour are just at the right age to start alpine climbing with a night in a Mountain Refuge.
If you are lucky enough, a good age to start Alpine climbing is around 13 or 14 years old. Any earlier the lungs are not developed enough and there is a real risk of severe altitude sickness. There have been a lot of stories of kids climbing high mountains at young ages of which some make it. Its mostly got to do with their parents egos. Whats more there is no evidence that climbing big peaks as a small kid produces anything other than a disdain within them for future mountaineering.
Honour and Millie are best friends who were given the opportunity to have a go at Alpine climbing by Honour's Dad , Bill who tagged along.
It was my task to come up with a varied plan which would keep them entertained. I decided that we should start by walking up to a Mountain Refuge and doing some preliminary ice axe and crampon work on the way. I choose for us to go the the Albert 1er Refuge at the side of what was formerly [before global warming] the Le Tour Glacier.
The refuge was full , but unusually for a French Refuge, it was well organised, the welcome pleasant and the dinner was excellent.
Breakfast was at 4.30 and we were away for our climb at 5.30am. Our objective was the Tete Blanche. The conditions were perfect . There was a good freeze overnight , the snow was solid and the glacier was in very good condition.
For a first trip into the alpine mountains and to walk on the glacier it was hard to better, especially with the iconic Forbes arete on the Chardonnet as a back drop.
Next day we decided that the girls should get to grips with some classic Chamonix multi pitch rock climbs, so we headed up to Les Chesery high above Argentiere. We climbed three pitches of Voie Bleu before the girls decided they were tired from the previous 2 day efforts and they demanded ice cream.
On our 4th day we choose to do something easier and head to Les Bois to climb the beautiful Voie Caline where we finished by having a very good late lunch at the wonderful Mottets buvet .