Last Saturday, a group my friends and I went with the Young at CERN Club to Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in the Swiss Alps and all of Europe, if you don’t count the Ural Mounts as being in Europe. Mont Blanc is located by the quaint French town of Chamonix. It is a cool little tourist town with lots of shops and food stands. The mountain’s peek is 15,781 feet (4,810 meters) in elevation and there is an observation post at 12,602 feet (3,842 meters). The trip begins with a gondola ride too just below the snow line, and then there is a second gondola that goes all the way to the observation point.
On the left is the elevation marker on the observation needle. One the right is the peek of Mont Blanc. The temperature at the observation point was 28F, just below freezing. It was not particularly cold, but the wind was brutally frigid. The air swept along the mountain slopes and hit the steep rock wall around the needle and this produced rapid updrafts of icy air that felt like icy needles stabbing through your skin.
A few brave souls ventured out onto the Mountain peak, which is still a 1000 meters higher. The mountain climbers were clad in gear. Crampons, pick axes, carabiner, helmets, and winter clothing. Some went to the top in pairs, others in groups of six, but all of them traveled slow and carefully. Maybe next year I will make the same journey.
The image on the right is from inside a glacier on the slopes of Mont Blanc. The glacier has been melting substantially for the last 40 years. The park service built a tunnel through the glacier and people could acually walk through and see the glacier from the inside.
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