Aiguille du Midi climbers – Chamonix 2008
The Aguille du Midi is an impressive 3,842m peak in the Mont Blanc Massif in the French Alps above Chamonix. Its name literally translated means "needle of midday" and it is so named because the sun sits directly over the peak at noon, when viewed from Chamonix.
According to Wikipedia, the cable car to the summit, the Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi, was built in 1955 and held the title of the world's highest cable car for about two decades. It still holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 m to 3,842 m. There are two sections: from Chamonix to Plan de l'Aiguille at 2,317 m and then directly, without any support pillar, to the upper station at 3,777 m (the building contains an elevator to the summit). The cable car travels from Chamonix to the top of the Aiguille du Midi – an altitude gain of over 2,800 m – in 20 minutes. When you step ont at the peak, your breath is literally taken away – I know mine was when we visited in the summer of 2008 – not only by the view but by the distinct lack of oxygen!
The Vallée Blanche ski run begins here, and the nearby Cosmiques Refuge is the starting point for one of the routes to the Mont Blanc summit. From various viewing platforms at the summit you can see the parties of roped climbers and skiers like this one beginning their journeys, shuffling along a ridge no more than a foot or so wide (think the ridge of a sand dune, but with a couple of thousand metres to fall), down to the snow-covered glacier to proceed either up or down.
My skiing trip to the Alps this week should be far less fraught with danger!
This is part of a series of non-food photographs that will be published every Saturday on CookSister. Click here for a full list of photographs previously featured. All photos featured in Saturday Snapshots are available to buy as greeting cards or prints in my RedBubble store, including the new Year of Saturday Snapshots calendar, an A3-size calendar bringing together the most popular images from the first year of Saturday Snapshots. Feel free to browse - it makes a great gift!