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  Alpine Ascent's Mont Blanc:  Stormy weather = Via Ferrata fun!


Stormy weather = Via Ferrata fun!
Today the Aig du Midi was closed due to strong winds again this morning. We opted for “Plan B” and went down valley from Chamonix to do a Via Ferrata. A Via Ferrata (Iron Road) is a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges.

We did the Via Ferrata in a small town of Passy, France located about 30mins away from Chamonix. It was just over 700 vertical feet high and took us around 2hrs. After completing the Via Ferrata we walked up to a secluded restaurant up high on the mountain hillside for lunch.

We are back in Chamonix for the evening to watch an amazing lightning storm come through town. It is currently raining incredibly hard here in town. Tomorrow we are hopeful to get up the Aig du Midi and do some climbing in the alpine environment.


Texas Stampede cruise the Mer de Glace
Mountaineering and climbing is very dynamic and even more so in the Alps. We have lifts, trams, trains, huts, and many logistics to coordinate. This morning we left the Hotel L’Arve in Chamonix and went up to the Mer de Glace for some glacier trekking and sightseeing with the idea of riding up Aig du Midi in the afternoon.

All the climbers had a really good time climbing up and down the ladders to access the glacier. There are signs that show how much and quickly the glacier has retreated in the past years. It’s astonishing and eye-opening how much glacier recession has taken place.

However, plans change in a moments notice in the Alps. The Aig du Midi closed this afternoon due to strong winds and we are forced to spend another night in Chamonix. The forecast is calling for very strong winds tomorrow and heavy precipation with lightning in the afternoon.

Tomorrow we are going to wake up and see what happens with the weather. Hopefully this storm diverts around the Alps and we can still make a summit attempt on Sunday.


Texas Stampede back in Chamonix!
Hello from Chamonix, France!

Today we woke up at 5am and left the Trient Hut just after 6am this morning in Switzerland. We divided into two teams; one team enjoyed the scenic views of the Trient Plateau while the other team summited Aig du Tour 3544m.

Both teams had a great time and are back safely in Chamonix enjoying a hot shower and a traditional French meal.

We are currently getting ready for our summit attempt on Mont Blanc. The forecast is calling for a storm Friday and Saturday, but we are going to get ready and be in position to climb if the storm breaks. The best day for making a summit attempt on Mont Blanc looks to be Sunday morning.


Mont Blanc Team, “The Texas Stampede” crossed La Tour, summited Petite Fourche, and traversed Trient Glacier for some Rösti in Switzerland
Hello, this is Jonathan Spitzer from The Texas Stampede, trip 4 for the Mont Blanc expedition.

Today we left the Albert Premiere Hut, walked up the La Tour Glacier and then summited Petite Fourche. And did a very very fine overhanging lower over a very large bergschrund into Switzerland. Then traversed the Trient Glacier, over to the Trient Hut.

This afternoon we had the typical Rösti for lunch, which is like a pancake of hash browns, with eggs, and ham, and cheese all mixed together, really good. Team’s doing great, and we’re just enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Alps.

That’s it for now, and we’ll be in touch more later. Thank you, bye!
 

------------

Earlier:

Mont Blanc Expedition Team #4, the “Texas Stampedes”, practices glacier skills on the La Tour then heads to Albert Premiere Hut:

Hello, and greetings from the Albert Premiere Hut. This is Jonathan Spitzer, with Mont Blanc expedition #4, also known as the “Texas Stampedes”. Yeah, we got a group of five Texans all here, and it’s kind of funny, none of them originally knew each other, except one of the couples, but everybody else is from Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso Texas. So got a cool crew out here for our Mont Blanc trip.

Today we walked up from La Tour up to the Albert Premiere Hut, and reviewed some glacier skills. Tomorrow we’re planning on climbing up the La Tour Glacier, up over to the Trient Hut into Switzerland.

We also have a special request message from Jamie to Carson: “have a good first day of school tomorrow” and she’s sorry she can’t be there.

Well, that’s it for now, and we’ll be in touch tomorrow. Thank you, bye!


Post summit celebration in Chamonix!


Bonjour!:
We are back in Chamonix after a successful climb yesterday. We had a truly amazing summit day. Warm temps, clear sky and no wind.
So many times speed and efficiency is key for success in the mountains. All the climbers yesterday did a great job of moving fast and efficient throughout the day.
Tonight we will be meeting up for a celebration dinner in town, before all the climbers head back to their home or continue on another adventure tomorrow.
Thanks for following the cybercast!

Jonathon


The stunningly beautiful Mont Blanc was summitted by Team Schrund Munchers before they headed back to Chamonix:

Hello, this is Jonathon Spitzer with the Mont Blanc trip #3, the Schrund Munchers. It’s currently about 2:15 here in France, and I’m very happy to announce that we got to, had a safe climb to the summit.

We were on the summit at around just before 8 this morning. Joe Greenberg, and Wayne, Todd, Graham, and Robert were all able to climb, so we got five climbers to the top. Unfortunately Mark ended up catching the flu, and is flying home. Guy has a pre-existing foot injury and choose not to climb. And Jeff unfortunately tweaked his knee, but hopefully those three will come back. But everybody else had a really great climb, definitely unique experience here on the Mont Blanc.

We’re safe back now at the Tete Rousse Hut and tomorrow we’ll be descending back to Chamonix. Thanks for following our cybercast, and I’ll try to post some pictures in the next day or two.

Bye!
____________

August 16

Mont Blanc 3#: Highlights from the first 3 days!

Bonjour!

Today, Aug 16th we arrived back in Chamonix this afternoon. We woke up this morning over at the Trient Hut (Switzerland) to some adverse weather. Our attempt at Aig Du Tour did not happen because of poor weather. Instead we traversed back to Le Tour and made our way back to Chamonix. Currently all the clouds have blown away and the weather is sunny and clear.

Tomorrow we are going to start to make our ascent on Mont Blanc. We will ascend up to the Tete Rousse Hut and the following day (Saturday) make an attempt on Mont Blanc.

“Hello Switzerland” from Mark.
Everybody is doing very well and really enjoying the great climbing life we have here in the Alps!

Hello, this is Jonathon Spitzer from Chamonix, France.

Today we hiked up to the Albert Premier Hut here, about 2800 meters above La Tour and did some skills on the glacier this afternoon. Tomorrow we’re going to hike up on the glacier, do some glacier travel skills, climb a couple small peaks over 3500 meters and then traverse down to the Trient glacier over to Switzerland. And we plan on spending tomorrow night at the Trient Hut in lovely Switzerland (at around 3100 meters).

Everybody’s doing well. We got a really strong group of seven Americans and one Scottish man, who’s got a thick accent, he’s doing great. And yeah, we got an awesome team here. Weather’s been great and hopefully with this weather, the beautiful sunny skies will hold over the weekend.

Thanks for following our cybercast and I’ll try and call you guys again tomorrow. Bye!


 

August 13:

Mont Blanc Trip #3 Starting today!
Bonjour from Chamonix, France!

Tonight is the first night of our third Mont Blanc trip of the season. We will be having a climber dinner in-town. Tomorrow morning we will do a gear check, followed by picking up any last minute items before heading into the field.

The forecast is looking sunny and hot for the next 3 days. We are going up to the Le Tour area for some skills and acclimating.

We will post some more cybercasts over the next couple days!

Merci,
Jonathon

 

 

July 30:

Hello, and greetings from Chamonix, France. Today thundershowers across the Alps have kept us from making a summit attempt on Mont Blanc. We had heavy rain overnight to about 3000 meters and above that we had mixed snow and rain, and hail. And we’re back in Chamonix and we’re going to do some, maybe some ice climbing out on the Mer de Glace and some skills today as we finish up and enjoy a nice dinner here in town.

We’ll continue our cybercasts for the Mont Blanc trips in August, when we continue with trip 3 and trip 4. Thank you very much for following. Bye.



Hello, and greetings from Chamonix, France, today is July 28th. Yesterday we hiked up to the Tete Rousse Hut under clear skies. Hoping today we would climb, we woke up this morning to heavy rain, snow mix at the hut, with thunderstorms quite frequently this morning. Currently we are just waiting here at the hut to see what happens with the weather and for an updated forecast. Hopefully the weather will break and maybe tomorrow, July 29th, we will get another summit attempt.
Thanks for following, bye!


 

July 28:

Sorry for the delay in cybercasts. We were having too much fun playing and traveling throughout the Alps. Here is a recap from the last couple days.
July 25th: We woke up from our lovely hut and rode up the very famous Aig du Midi tramway to 3808m. After taking several pictures and enjoying the sights we walked out of the Aig du Midi and down the Arete de Poulet Merde. Then traversed the Valle Blanche (largest glacier in the Alps) over to Italy. It took us just over 4hrs to reach the Italian boarder, where we spent the night at the Torino Hut (3410m).
Yesterday, July 26th, we attempted to climb Aig du Toule (3800m) on the Italian/French boarder. However we turned around near the summit due to loose rock. When we descend down from Aig du Toule, where we found the Helbronner Cable Car (which connects Italy to Chamonix) was closed for Alpinists. We opted for “Plan B”, and descended into the amazing mountain town of Courmayeur, Italy (1008m). We had a traditional Italian lunch with some red wine.
The Alps are amazingly connected by trains, trams, and roadways. To get back to Chamonix we hired a taxi to take us through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, a 16km tunnel that is underneath the Mont Blanc Massif. And 30 minutes later we arrived in Chamonix!
Today we are getting ready to start to make our ascent on Mont Blanc. The forecast is calling for sunny skies for the next couple days.
Thanks for following and I’ll give you another update soon!

Jonathon
 

July 26:

Hello, this is Jonathon Spitzer with the Mont Blanc trip. This is our second trip for the season so far. Today John, Victor, and myself rode up the Montenvers train and then descended down to the Mer de Glace, which is the Sea of Ice. We practiced some cramponing, and some steep ice climbing skills on the Mer de Glace, for a couple hours, then we traversed on over (about at the 8,000 foot level) to the Midi-Plan Refuge, where we’re going to sit down for dinner here in a little bit. This hut overlooks Chamonix directly down, with a beautiful sunset here and what not. Tomorrow our plan is to ride up the Aiguille du Midi, to about 12,000 feet, and then traverse the Vallee Blanche, to the Torino Hut which is in Italy. Then we’ll be over there enjoying the coffee of Italy for the next day. We’ll be in touch tomorrow and thanks for following our cybercasts. Hope everybody is doing well back in the United States. Thanks!

 

July 22:

Today we descended down from the Gouter Hut (3800m) back to Chamonix. Our summit climb yesterday (July 21st) was very amazing. We found ourselves to be very fortunate the weather opened up allowing us to summit Mont Blanc (4808m). Only a few other teams were on the upper mountain yesterday creating a unique experience in the French Alps.

Thanks for following the Cybercasts!

Au Revoir

Jonathon
 

Earlier:

Hello this is Jonathon Spitzer with the Mont Blanc trip. Today Kay and I woke up at the Tete Rousse Hut to kind of some cloudy weather and misty and snowy conditions, but we decided we wanted to give it a shot, and climbed up the Grand Couloir in pretty adverse conditions, but ended up climbing up and above the clouds today, and we were able to get to the summit of Mont Blanc. We hit the summit at around 1:30 this afternoon and then descended back down to the Gouter Hut where we are spending the night. Tonight we are up here, most of the clouds have now dropped below us and should have an amazing sunset. We will be descending down to Chamonix tomorrow and I’ll try and post some pictures in the next day or two. You know Kay did a fabulous job with the conditions that we had, were pretty difficult climbing and definitely applaud here for keeping going with the conditions that we had. Thanks for following bye.

 

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