821 forum posts
More than thirty years ago I took a NOLS course in glacier travel and general mountaineering, but never got or made much opportunity to follow up. A little rock climbing, thousands of miles of hiking and skiing and easy peakbagging, lots of looking at glaciers and a little bit of crawling around in crevasses at glacier terminuses, but I never roped up and set off across a glacier to get to the top of something.
Fortunately I never forgot the basics, and in my second year in Norway found myself improvising a harness out of webbing for the 30 meter scramble to the top of Juratind. Later my friend Christophe, ten years younger than me, started more or less testing me on some long/steep ski ascents and descents and a little summer climbing. I guess I showed that I could keep up and not screw up, so last winter we started planning a trip to the Alps, where Christophe began climbing when he was in the French military and put in a lot more time afterwards.
To keep it short, we attempted the Lisskamm, a 5 kilometer long ridge traverse topping out at 4500 meters, but turned back due to bad weather; made a successful ascent of 3823 m Le Dolent, the 3-way border point between France, Italy, and Switzerland; waited out some bad weather in Christophe's home town of Annecy, where the Tour de France just happened to be holding an individual time trial; then we finished on 3946 m Le Pelvoux in Les Écrins, southwest of the Mt Blanc massif.
Here's a link to a photo gallery, with some terse captions offering up a little more detail:
(Use the "i" button on the slide show to get the full captions)
For me this was a dream come true, and I can only hope to do more in the future.