Suite-Next Retour à Sommaire/Contents Retour-backA Mass expedition to the Albert Premier hut 

Towards the end of our stay we all bundled into the tranny  and chugged off to the village of Le Tour, at the head of the Chamonix Valley. From here a long and hot hut slog took us up to the Albert 1er refuge. Unlike our familiar Montenvers track, there are no woods and absolutely no shade. Luckily a few mountain streams provide the odd drink.

We had a good time, climbing the Aiguille du Tour and the Aiguille Purtscheller by the South Ridge. These are small but perfectly formed granite peaks that thrust out of an enormous expanse of snow covered ice. They are much frequented by large groups of Italians, whose gay banter can be heard for miles around. I don't think they understood Graham's (the dourest of the dour Northerners) sourly remarks, as they continued to smile, chatter and wave to us.

One interesting moment; after the climb a blanket of cloud came over us, the breeze dropped and all was eerily still. This was not too disturbing as, in spite of the semi-whiteout, the tracks were easy to follow back to the hut. Funnily we could hear the buzzing of bees, which seemed odd so high up, until someone suddenly realized it was in fact static electricity humming on our ice axes, strapped, spike upwards on the rucksacks. At this point we decided to accelerate our pace and scurried back the Albert 1er.

Some of the group traversed the Chardonnet and various other peaks and a good time was had by all.