August 21st, 2018
21.3km | ascent 1523m | descent 1507m
Accommodation in Chamonix: Chalet Whymper (booking.com, €122 including breakfast)
We had ordered one packed lunch from the hotel to share and were overwhelmed with how big it was and so glad we’d only ordered one! It came with a giant baguette, a packet of chips, two juices, one bottle of water, three pieces of fruit, two trail bars and more. We ate some of it for breakfast and still had too much! (We’re supplementing with the food we still have in our food bags, I’m gonna have to start giving away jerky soon because dad isn’t eating it!) We left just after 7am and made our way downhill a few minutes to rejoin the TMB, then began climbing what was going to be the biggest ascent of our hike. We saw our first deer from the trail, but it was behind a fence in the zoo in Parc Merlet!
The views were incredible as we climbed higher and higher, slowly, steeply, plodding along. After four hours we reached Refuge de Bellachat and this was the first refuge where we had to buy water as opposed to filling up at a fountain or tap. We continued ascending, crossing boulder fields and following the red and white GR stripe for a further hour with stunning views of Mont Blanc to eventually reach the high point at Col du Brevent (2526m).
It was 12:40pm by the time we arrived at Col du Brevent and it was teeming with hikers as well as tourists who’d caught the cable car up from the valley. We bought a coke and sat down to share the baguette, although the cold wind was chilling my sweat-soaked shirt and me to the bone!
After a few obligatory selfies at the top, we began the descent to Plan Praz.
We passed a small section of snow and I suggested to dad he do a snow angel. I had my camera ready as he tried to climb up the snow, then as soon as he sat down, he slid, right off the snow into the dirt and ended up with a muddy bum and back! We were both laughing so hard we couldn’t talk, but I’d missed it on both the video and photos. Now wet and dirty, he wouldn’t comply a second time!
We had agreed that because the TMB didn’t descend to Chamonix that it was ok to take the cable car (as it was technically off the TMB), so we caught the cable car from Plan Praz and it was then just a short walk to Chamonix which was buzzing with people and banners for the upcoming UTMB.
We checked into Chalet Whymper and noticed the weather forecast said rain in the afternoon. As we’d missed our chance to take the cable car from Courmayeur due to bad weather, our second chance to get up close to Mont Blanc was from Chamonix, either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be clear, so we agreed to try first thing at 6:30am when it opens. We showered and washed clothes, then the rain started so we borrowed umbrellas from the hotel and went to explore Chamonix with its dozens of sports and tourist shops. This would be a fun town to come back to in winter.
We had a dinner I’d rather forget tonight at a touristy place in the centre, but it could be because I’m starting to feel like dad’s given me his cold. I couldn’t even be convinced to have dessert 😦