With 1200m of ascent to 2655m and the same amount of descent, including hundreds of metres of that through exhausting boulder fields and scree slopes did make us nervous and rightly so. Physically it was certainly the hardest ascent so far, but with pristine blue skies and settled weather we feel so grateful to have done the route.
At the same time, with 2 weeks of hiking left we had always had a plan in the back of our mind to turn off the Tour du Mont Blanc route at Champex. Having started on the GR5 and then picking up the TMB when we naturally joined it at Col du Brevent, likewise we knew that at Champex the Tour du Mont Blanc route coincided with the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute route which we want to follow next. This high level hiking route taking in lots of high, Swiss alpine passes as it heads west is supposedly one of the most stunningly beautiful routes of Europe. However, with such a fantastic and also stunningly beautiful time on the TMB so far and great weather forecast for the next 2 days we thought why not keep going? Besides, not only are completing the TMB, but we're also doing the start of the Haute route in reverse back towards Chamonix..... As long as we take the high level variants like this one.
After taking a bus yesterday after our challenging day our legs were quite fresh and we actually went up the whole climb without stopping in under 3 hours. The views behind us were amazing to distant snow capped peaks and the air was so still we could really appreciate the wild, untamed, glacier built landscape we were ascending through.
Then we reached the top. Wow! The Glacier du Trient stretched out before, above and below us was breathtaking. We sat for over an hour over lunch trying to take it in, with so many crevasses, ice boulders and shades of blue and grey.
The descent was a little less technically hard but went on for what seemed like ages beneath the hot sun. Thankfully we had the Glacier du Trient for company the whole way down, with the changing angles giving ever more places to stop and enjoy.
In fact even when we reached out overnight pitch site at La Peuty and even now the sun has set we can still see the glacierand I look forward to seeing it again in the morning.
More photos of our Tour du Mont Blanc in our Google Album