cable cars

Chamonix, France

Taking the cable cars up to Aiguille du Midi is an interesting experience. I paid 35 EUR to squeeze into a cabin with 68 strangers. I fought my way in quickly, to stand close to one of the windows. On my left, a fully equipped british couple, ready to jump off piste and climb glaciers. On my right, a group of friends with massive backpacks.

Where were they all going?

Turns out, the Aiguille du Midi is not only an amazing viewpoint, but also the start of the famous Vallee Blanche off-piste ski run over the glaciers and the access route to climbing Mont Blanc.

Can you see the people at the edge of the mountain?

Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix (France)

Chamonix, France

As I arrived at the top station, I visited several terraces that allowed to take in a 360º view of the spectacular landscape of the Swiss (Matterhorn), French (Grand Combin) and Italian Alps (Monte Rosa). 3 countries in one shot – just like that time I visited Mont Fort!).

One of the terraces was accessed by a metallic staircase – the kind in which you can look through the holes and see what’s below you – in this case, an immense vertical wall and snow. The thin air made climbing these 20 stairs feel like you’re going up 2,000 instead. From here, I could enjoy a birds-eye view of Chamonix and the surrounding valley.

Chamonix, French Alps

But I wasn’t at the highest point yet!

An elevator rose me the final 42m to the top terrace at 3,842m – only.

Chamonix, France

Which is the highest point you’ve ever reached?

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Aguille du Midi, Chamonix (France)

This time I rang in the New Year in a ski resort – surrounded by extreme snow and ice sport lovers. Every day, I woke up early to drive to the slopes, get my gear and make it through a day of ski lessons and practices with as little bruises as possible.

If you are anything like me – you need a day (or two) to bring down your level of adrenaline (and lets face it, to let your muscles and bruises have a break as well). Fortunately, Chamonix has more than just slopes and ski shops. Aiguille du Midi (or Needle of the South) is a mountain in the Mont-Blanc Massif that can be accessed by two cable cars starting in Chamonix itself. The first one takes you up to the Plan de l’Aiguille (2,300m) and the second traverses Les Pelerins glacier before rising up the North side of the Aiguille du Midi, landing at an impressive 3.842m above sea level.

This, dear readers, is the closest I could get to Mont-Blanc (for now…).

Note: taking the cable car may seem like a walk in the park, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Its steepness and speed can be scary for some. Add strong winds at the top and be ready to hear some squeaks!