9 Days in Chamonix – Part Deux

The show goes on.

My quads hurt. Boy, the heads of my quads at my knees were tender. I couldn’t tense them, they’d taken a bashing on Day 1. Ahh.

Cereal, coffee, electrolytes, car.

Off for more.

Mike drove us to Chamonix, where the main road was in grid lock. The Mont Blanc tunnel was in chaos, the Gendarmerie were in the road, controlling the traffic. We made our way near the Aiguille du Midi lift station, parked up and headed for the trails.

Today was a different objective, run together, gain height and above all, add some distance. The climb would take an hour or so, some 1000 meters, meandering up to the Midi mid station.38406552_2092751567647070_1266878342863257600_nPoles out, we moved up the trail, utilising arms to aid our progression. We stuck together for the first 10 or so minutes, before Mike took the lead and gradually tore off into the distance. Long limbs and an elite cardio system make him a mean climber. The trails were easy. There wasn’t an abundance of  roots or rocks, the switch backs long, rather then short and sharp. It was fun, I held back from pushing into the red, keeping my pace and effort level constant. Eventually, the canopy broke and the mid station was in plain view.

Wow.

The contrast.

Trees were gone, high alpine peaks, jagged and sharp from millennia of weathering and erosion stood high above the trails. An impregnable fortress to all but the best of climbers.

38474977_2052553668339329_4209946120568176640_n

Topping up water at the refuge, it was onto Mer De Glace, running the high trails, with rocks covered in a fine layer of tiny rocks, forming a dust like coating that was slippery. Traffic was high on the trail, families, hikers and couples out to take in the endless views, in an oppressive heat. Bottle necks formed around steeper ascents/descents, however, a simple bonjour or merci, saw walkers move out of the way for runners.

Arriving at the Mer De Glace, the views were stunning, the receding glacier providing a scale hard to comprehend. After a little time taking in nature’s power, we enjoyed the flowing trail to the Bar (something I still find pretty crazy) for a spot of lunch.img_8570-1Refuelled and back on track, the descent to the valley floor featured a lot of rocks, similar to Ben Nevis’ tourist path and I smashed my toes repeatedly at the very top. Mike cracked on, as I eased off, not wanting to do further damage (thankfully my feet were “A ok” come the end). A steady pace and as the river came into audible range, the heat joined it. It’s the closest I’ve got to being at Western States. It was unbearable.38458335_2186858857995217_2857925471310446592_nSplitting up, I took the lower trails to Argentiere, following the Petite Balcon Nord. Everyone I passed on the trail was British and 80% of those on the bus back to Chamonix followed suit….. little Britain?

Now my quads really felt it. Added onto Friday’s runs, I was up to 3,000+ meters of ascent and similar descending. A big local run at home managed to get to 300 meters over the entire duration of a 10 mile run….

Sunday

A rest day.

Mobility, Some shopping – loading up my camera bag with food and generally taking it easy.

There were 5 more days to take on the mountains.

Don’t peak too soon.

Oh & then we had a fire work display at 11pm in Les Houches. With no idea it was happening, it was a bit of a shock!

 

 

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