Sleeping bag, check.
Pre-cooked food, check.
Beers for the boys, check.
Almost ready to rock ‘n’ roll, Leah and I squeezed all our essentials into our packs, swigged as much water as possible and set off to the van ready for one hell of an adventure. Along for the ride, Wilson and Wassilla, Johno and Lissy and of course, the camera (check the video below).
Packed in the van, we set off for Vallorcine, north of Chamonix. We had decided today was the day we would climb the western mountains of the Chamonix valley and see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Our adventure to Lac Blanc.
4pm Saturday afternoon. We parked the van, locked her up and made our way to the track ready to battle the 30 degree heat and the blazing sun. Yep, still hot as hell at 4pm but much better than the mid-day heat rage in the mountains. The plan, walk the 2hours and 45 mins to Lac Blanc, camp the night, wake up and set off back down again.
20 minutes in and were really starting to feel the heat. The boys already shirtless and dripping sweat faster than a condensating fridge. All of a sudden Wilson says (as quietly as possible for a loud Australian), “Guys look!”. Unsure of what the hell he’s talking about, we all look up towards the top of the track and it soon made sense. A family of Ibec (moose/deer looking animals) with huge antlers was walking straight towards us on the track. Silent and still we all stepped aside as they made their way gracefully down. At one point they were at arms length away, minding there own business, trying to get out of the scorching sun. Always respecting animals in their habitat, we all appreciated what was happening infront of us.
Covered by tress and bush for the first 40mins was a blessing. We popped out, looked up and realised what lay ahead. An incline towards a massive cliff and in the distance approaching, were several flights of vertical ladders. Exciting times ahead. Meanwhile Wilson explains how him and our mate had climbed this “massive cliff” a few weeks earlier and when I say climb, I mean with ropes and a harness of course. Just casual life in Chamonix….
Starting to feel the weight in my backpack and thinking, was it worth bringing the beers? we approached the much anticipated “stairway to heaven”. Clambering up one by one, we headed, straight up looking into the sun way up high in the sky. In total there were about 10 different ladders, mostly vertical, some side by side like a waterslide where you race down with your mate, except we were against gravity. Best way to do it if your scared of heights, don’t look down! It won’t help! We lugged our packs to the top, turned around and took in the amazing view of Mont Blanc, the Aiguille du Midi and Chamonix down below.
Still over an hour of hiking to go, we picked up the pace and started to think ahead. It’s gonna be cold up there tonight, plus we had over two dozen snags (sausages) to cook so we became cavemen and women. Every dry stick, branch or piece of tree we could get our hands on, came with us on our journey. With the sun still high in the sky, we came over the hump of the hill and arrived at Lacs des Chéserys (just 10min below Lac Blanc) and decided to set up camp for the night.
We all found a nice spot, out of the wind and close to a creek. Perfect to set up camp, build a fire (Bear Grylls style) and settle in for a banger of a sunset. The girls collecting more wood, beers cooling in the creek and the boys setting up tents, it all came together as the sun slowly dropped behind the hills in the distance. Thinking to myself how awesome it is to live in such an amazing place, to call it home with some absolute legends makes it really hard to leave.
As the fire started to become like a raging bull in Pamplona, we threw some snags on Wilsons beloved hotplate and cracked open the first beers of the night. Thinking back as I slurped on a cold 1664, it was well worth the struggle carrying the pack to sit there and enjoy a cold, well deserved beer.
With the sun servicing the other half of the world with daylight, we all lay outside around the fire, drinking and talking shit in the dark like we always do. We could have lay there all night looking into the spotted sky, looking for that one shooting star to make a wish. After half an hour or so, we finally got what we came for, made a wish and went off to sleep in our makeshift homes for the night.
“Wake up Brynny” Leah calls out at about 5:30am trying to wake me from an uncomfortable sleep. With no avail she sets off with Johno, Wilson and Lissy, up the hill to catch the best view in town. All I hear for the morning “you missed the best sun rise, it was so amazing, really… you did.” Ohwell I think to myself, I had a good sleep in…
Not even 7am yet, half asleep and I’m up, shorts on, running towards the freezing cold lake. With the snow not that far away, I jump into the lake and feel a rush of adrenaline busting through body like a freight train on steriods. “Holy shit” I say “It’s fucking freezing!!!”. Feeling more awake than ever, we scramble together whats left of the smouldering ashes and makeshift some morning coffee. Packed, caffeined up and for me, showered, we set off to hit Lac Blanc.
Only a 20 minute hill climb ahead, we made our way to Lac Blanc where mirror like photos are a must and the view of the eastern mountain range are better than before. We couldn’t leave without washing ourselves with the fresh water even though half the lake was frozen over.
Going down was much the same except not as many Ibec to see. The ladders were even more exhilarating than the day before, going down was much harder than going up. Coming to an end, we could see the van parked in the distance and our legs feeling the burn from two days of walking. A well deserved beer at the pub to “re-hydrate” and reminisce on what an amazing adventure we’d just accomplished.
With so much to offer in our backyard, Chamonix has really put it on for us. So much so infact…we’ve decided to stay another year ❤
Check out the vid of our epic adventure below (remember to watch in HD)
& subscribe to our new YouTube channel to see more of what we get up to!
Bryn | FREE & ADDICTED