“The peak, the 7th highest mountain in the Graian Alps, with an elevation of 4,061 m, is close to Mont Blanc on the nearby border with France. In the SOIUSA (International Standardized Mountain Subdivision of the Alps) the mountain belongs to an alpine subsection called “North-Eastern Graian Alps”(It:Alpi del Gran Paradiso; Fr:Alpes du Grand-Paradis) and also gives the name to the gruppo del Gran Paradiso. While the Mont Blanc massif straddles the border between France and Italy, the Gran Paradiso is the only mountain whose summit reaches over 4,000 metres that is entirely within Italian territory, so that it could be considered the highest peak in Italy.”
We woke up early and I was really excited like a labrador smells a steak, I just could not wait to start the hike. We walked with our gears to the meeting point at the Chamex office, in front of the Aiguille du Midi cable car station around 9am. The day before, our guide Raphael had checked my pack and gears, and he shed of half of my junk-gears. In US, we carried plenty gears that most of the time we won’t use, “just in case” gears. But here in French, I guessed they were really minimalist, and everything about speed, and I do like it. Also the main reason that we could be minimalist was, we would stay one night in the hut that had bunk beds and foods.
Our team was made of 4 people. Raphael the Guide, Gino the British Kid, Dan, and me. It was amazing that Raphael’s small cars could afford us and our gears, and still had power to climb those hilly roads. We stopped couple times around Courmayeur, and the view along the road was just stunning. I might had been drooling over the window, looking at the majestic view of the Alps.
The drive from Chamonix (France) to Pont Breuil (Italy) was probably about 2 hours.
Today is Indonesian Independence Day, and “Freedom or Die” had been always the slogan of our independence fighters. In away, it also relates with how I do my day by day activities. I love my freedom in the outdoor, trail running, and what not. I am responsible for myself, responsible for my failure and for what I had gain, yet I don’t have to follow any standard or judges.
Also this year, I am planing to do a 35 Days of Adventure towards my birthday. It s so happen today the first day, and I started it with my first day trip in Mount Blanc.
I met Dan Hernandez in Geneve airport at 10 am, and rode a bus to Chamonix. I felt the exact feeling that I had, when i did my trip in Kilimanjaro last year. I saw the Mont Blanc since I arrived at the airport, and I saw it the whole trip to the Chamonix. It invited me and I heard it was calling me to come closer, so I could praise her majestic from her peak.
We got to walked around and managed to get lost in this lovely nice little town. People were so nice and helpful, that I could say “France J’aime”.
We were staying at the Chalet Les Pelerins, about 10 minutes walk from Chamonix downtown. The owner David Robertson lived in the same complex, so it was a convenient if we needed any suggestion or had any question. Even one time, Asa, David’s partner, drove us in the morning to the train station. They were a very wonderful people and hosts. He also had a winter outdoor sport trip agency, action-outdoors, so I would definitely come to visit them in the near future.
For the trekking trip, we hired Chamonix Experience, they did a great job with arranging our trip. Basically we just showed up and they had everything prepared for us. The guides were very professional and thorough with our safety and preparation. Hey I am here now writing this blog now in one piece. Cheers!!
Scott Jurek stayed here too for his UTMB
Photo by Dan Hernandez
Blanka from Chamonix Experience, who was behind my success trip