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?
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.
But I wasn’t at the highest point yet!
An elevator rose me the final 42m to the top terrace at 3,842m – only.