A few week’s back G and I loaded up my car and escaped to Chamonix, which is a place that holds many important memories for me and feels like a home away from home. During our journey, we sang, took the scenic route, ate pizza, cursed the Sat Nav and debated a different life in the mountains, would we tire of the views? would we become as fit as the locals? would people actually visit?
Once we’d settled into our cozy Air B’n’B, we then loaded our fridge with goodies and hunkered down for an early night. The following morning, we made a plan for the day, due to technical issues, many of the main cable car’s in the Chamonix vicinity had been closed. Therefore our only choice was to take on the challenge and walk, rather than take the easy option. Thank goodness for that, we do enjoy a good challenge. With this in mind, we took a cable car up to Planpraz (2,000m), which takes around 5 minutes and gave us a chance to talk about possible routes and admire the view.
So, what can you do when you’ve taken a cable car up to the Planpraz station?
*Depending on the seasonal opening times you can enjoy a snack&/or a drink at the cafe.
*There’s the option to try paragliding (this does require an advance booking with an instructor) or if you’d prefer, you can gear up and go sport (bolted) rock climbing.
*You can walk or cable car up to the summit of Le Brévent, which provides you with a fantastic view across to the Mont Blanc mountain range.
*Alternatively you can enjoy the view from the Station and then follow the various paths that return to Chamonix/The Station or head across to Flegere.
*It’s worth me mentioning that this is an excellent area for running, the standard route offers a relativity straightforward path and you can easily cover over 10km of challenging terrain, with incredible views. Baring in mind, I’d suggest a reasonable level of trail running experience and suitable shoes before taking this on.
The reason I chose Le Brévent (2,525 m) was due to the fact it was one of the locations we’d previously visited on our first ski trip. However, G had never experienced just how different the area looks when the covering of white snow has melted. All of the rocks and greenery was now fully exposed, there was only the gentle sound of the breeze and my poles tapping against the rock, which makes it feel like an entirely different location. Thanks to the excellent signposting, I decided that we would take one straightforward, but steep route up to the summit and then return to Planpraz on a route covering a slightly more interesting terrain. which was called the ‘Col du Brévent’ route.
Once we reached the summit, we were greeted by other walkers and a fantastic view, we took some time to rest, enjoyed some jelly babies and slowly started our descent. Whilst this might sound strange to some people, I actually find walking down so much more tiring than walking uphill. This is primarily due to the fact I’m not very confident with my foot placement, yet I started to get into a stride and found a surprising twist in the form of two rather unexpected ladders. As someone who isn’t exactly the most trusting when it comes to descending down an unexpected ladder, It took a moment or so for me to start down climbing. One thing I shall point out is that if you are uncomfortable with the concept of ladders and a few metal steps, then I’d recommend the standard Brévent route for your ascent and descent.
Before we knew it, we found ourselves back at the Planpraz cable car station, there were two options available for our descent and I choose a route which meant the Planpraz station was on our left, in oppose to the route which heads to the right of the station. I was vaguely hopeful that I’d made the right choice, but this is when self-doubt comes to play, I’m not exactly known for my outstanding sense of direction. After around 35 minutes, I was quietly thinking that I’d made a mistake, yet I was far too stubborn to admit this. We stopped for lunch and continued our journey, which led us down a black ski route, one I knew only too well! Historically, I’d bitten off more than I could chew when taking on this route, rather than opting for the cable car (aka the sensible option) and I might have threatened to sell my ski’s, on eBay. It’s hard to believe I’d be so very dramatic, but the twists and turns reminded me that indeed, I did have a minor, but very valid diva fit.
When we finally returned to the station, after taking the time to appreciate the stunning mountain waterfalls and complain about achy limbs, there was only one thing on my mind. Which was, heading into Chamonix center, for a huge ice cream to be enjoyed whilst people watching and resting weary legs. For your information, I went for one scoop of Rum’n’raisin and one scoop of Kinder bueno, my choices were every bit as good as they sound…
Have you ever visited Chamonix before?