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Chamonix and Furkapass.

Climbing around Europes highest and in between Uri and Wallis.

It couldn’t have been later than March when we valiantly made plans for this trip: “We’ll go to Furkapass! And then Chamonix!” The vision of sun-kissed granite momentarily pushing aside the reality that is weather and new jobs and new apartments and general real-world obligations.

Chamonix and Furkapass.

From Catherine Laflamme, pics Peter Manhartsberger

But – as it almost never happens in real life – we found ourselves in the second week of July on the road, driving towards the granite towers with one-week vacation and one-week of a perfect forecast. We stopped for one day to climb through the limestone pockets of Schafberg before continuing on to the route ‘Sacremotion’, which follows perfect cracks - and one (failed) dyno on a slab ;) -  up the Chli Bielenhorn in Furkapass. After another night on the plateau of the Furkapass we continued to Chamonix, making our way up the ladders crisscrossing the tombstones of the Mer de Glace to reach the Refuge d’Envers. 

There are moments in life when you find yourself so small and insignificant that you get sucked into the power of the moment. For me, this comes when the lights dim and the first chord plays at a concert, or when the plane takes off for a transcontinental flight. And in Chamonix, getting lost in the pitches above the Refuge d’Envers, I got caught up into this zone. Life – out there, somewhere – continues, but somehow, it doesn’t matter. Tucked into the world made up of glacier, granite, and clouds stirring overhead we climbed the splitter cracks of the route ‘Pedro Polar’, perfect friction slabs high on ‘Le Marchand de Sable’, and the hardest ‘6b’ of my life in ‘Tout va mal’: a traverse with big moves, small holds and lots of exposure. We navigated a shrinking bergschrund/chimney situation (type 2 fun) and rescued the rope when it got stuck (twice). 

And just as soon as it had begun, it was time to go back down. The music ended, the lights came back on, the flight landed. And, after a trip to a French patisserie, we were ready to come back to the real world. 

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