Up, up and awaaaay …

It’s been a real scorcher today in Chamonix, 32 degrees C and only the occasional whisper of a breeze. Had a 12 mile run scheduled for today so I decided to get a bit more altitude … Chamonix itself is just over 1000m above sea-level.

On the Grand Balcon Nord trail
Trail to Montenvers from Chamonix 

I took the trail by the train station that heads up towards Montenvers and the Mer de Glace. Montenvers is at 1913m high and a popular tourist destination to view the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), which is the longest glacier in France. The trail was crowded in places but I think most opted to take the rack railway train up and walk down. I ran uphill for nearly 5 miles before I reached Montenvers, and then ran up towards Le Signal (2198m) to pick up the trail on the Great North Balcony. I took a short break at Le Signal, and you can look across to the Aiguilles Rouges and see the paragliders riding the thermals.

Paragliders at the Aiguilles Rouges

The views are stunning everywhere you look, and since I was making slow progress uphill, I had time to look and take a few pictures. At Mer de Glace, I ran down toward the Ice Grotto to take a look. A squillion tourists on the trail, and construction seems to be ongoing at the site. For some reason they’ve decided to make a cave of ice on the side of the glacier. The glacier’s looking a little dusty at the moment .. it took me a while to realise that all the grey dusty stuff is ice!

Mer de Glace coming down through the valley
Crowds snaking towards the Ice Grotto 

From there, a gentle undulating run to the cable-car station at Plan d’Aiguille (about 4.5 miles). I got some good practice with the poles till here and am now feeling a bit more confident about using them for the race.

On the way up to Montenvers

The trip down from Plan d’Aiguille to Chamonix was a little less confidence inspiring. I thought I was getting the hang of using the poles on the downhill when I slipped on a wet rock and took a bit of a tumble.   Nearly fell into a small crevasse but my rolling stone impression got stopped by a very obliging bush. I was literally on the edge … talk about a close shave! At least I get the falls out of the way before the race .. let’s face it .. I’m was always going to kiss the dirt sometime, it’s just a matter of when and where. Anyway, all’s well apart from a bruised hip and a slightly squashed shrub. Good times.

Still smiling halfway through my climb!

Still waiting for the altitude acclimatisation to kick in, maybe tomorrow! I’m huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf trying to blow down the little pig’s house when I run uphill …

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  1. Thx for sharing the awesome scenery and landscape! Am glad you came out of the tumble with minor bruises… beauty can be treacherous! All the best in your final preps and on receday!!

  2. Wait! that did not come out right…. I meant "Glad you came away from yr tumble with minor bruises only!"… and I meant all the best on raceday!

    Have a great event!

  3. Go Jeri! πŸ™‚ We ski at the Aiguille Rouge so it's cool to see it in summertime πŸ™‚ Enjoy! x

  4. Amazing stuff – thanks for taking the time to post even when you're prepping for the race! All the way, Jeri! πŸ™‚

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