Higher Ground

I miss the mountains. Apart from a brief trip to Lebanon, I haven’t seen them for ten years. Being close enough however to Annecy and the gateway to the Mont Blanc massif was too good to miss. The wild woman herself was more than worth the trip. Standing 4810m, the highest peak in Europe, gave me tantalising glimpses as she shrouded herself in cloud, the summit only partially visible for most of the day. Had I been thinking on my feet, I might have managed a morning’s skiing on La Vallée Blanche but the cable car ride takes an hour and I didn’t have equipment.

 Instead, lunch at a restaurant recommended by a friend at the top of the Col de la Croix-Fry  – no Parisian ‘nouvelle’ here, with chic little diddles of balsamic –  the ham slice on offer would have been sorely missed by its parent animal and sausages the size of cucumbers – then down into Chamonix – inevitably full of grimy unshaven climbers, some of whom, quelle surprise – were English. I spent the afternoon on a glacier, as one does hereabouts. The cable car takes you to its base, and the snowline, blue-black in parts, finishes about 300m higher, torrents of meltwater finding least path distance to the valley below. I must be getting old, the climb – probably no more than half a dozen flights of stairs, at 1450m left me breathless.  Dinner in St Gervais, pleasanter and cheaper than the tourist overkill in Chamonix. Elderly persons go there, you know. For their health.

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2 thoughts on “Higher Ground

  1. I have fallen into a reverie of mountains and glaciers with plumes of blue water flung into space from the ramparts of sharp and jagged ledges; splashing far below into the Illecillewaet River. It was cold even at the height of summer… took my breath away to stand ankle deep on a dare from my brother.
    I, too, miss the mountains. Your post makes me think I would brave the cold for another look… maybe at your Mont Blanc.

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  2. Mont Blanc is awesome – a great, brooding pile of granite with a summit going on for ever. Her parting valediction to me was a brief, spectacular thunderstorm; lightning forks thick as trees – a son et lumiere to remember…

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