Tignes Off Piste Jan 2004
Gogarth Climbing June 04
The Haute Route

Chamonix to Zermatt by the Classic Route
August 2001

Day One: La Tour to Refuge Albert Premier

Bill makes the first steps from MontrocTelecabine de La Balme Leaving the car at Les Houche in the garage, for some repairs to be done whilst we were away, saved us 1 per day fee at the camp site in Montroc. The train from Les Houche to Montroc stopped in Chamonix for about 15 minutes. We were wondering what the delay was when Swiss police got on. They questioned various people and I was slightly concerned when they searched the rucksacks of two guys in the seats next to us. What would happen if they did the same with us and found the little plastic bags, each filled with small amounts of white powder - our Isostar ready measured for the water bottles! Fortunately they walked straight past us.
The Chamonix ValleyLower Glacier du TourOur walk started from Montroc at a slow pace to the La Balme telecabine. At 54FrF each it saves doing the path from Le Tour which Peter Cliff says "can hardly be recommended". Another team of 5 or 6 set off along the path in front of us as Bill wants to video the start. Being a film extra is something I'll have to get used to over the coming days.
The path goes easily south, then turns south west, until we reach the moraine. Bill had been here just 3 weeks before and had walked up to the hut. "It's just a slog" says Bill and up we go, filming along the way. Within hr we are at the hut, which is quite busy and as we book in we are told we are in the first sitting for evening meal at 6pm, (next is 8pm). A sign on the wall advertises that they sell ear plugs.
Old Refuge Albert PremierRefuge Albert PremierThe Refuge Albert Premier is a large hut and the 'new' building was put up in 1959. This building is only used in summer, the rennovated old hut serves as winter quarters. Sacks are stored in a seperate locker room accessible from outside, (padlocks free from reception).
After settling in we had a walk at the back of the hut . There was still some snow around. Bill said the snow had been much lower down the moraine in front of the hut 3 weeks before. We made a note of where the track led off toward the glacier.
Entrance Refuge Albert Premier Refuge Albert Premier-aerial viewAt the our evening meal we share a table with seven other Brits and have a meal of cheese and bread starter, soup (tasteless), a meat stew and apple tart desert. The other team are doing different things, but the main plan was the west ridge of the Aiguille du Tour. Tomorrow's route was checked on the map and we turned in as the light disappeared, although this hut does have electric lights at the touch of a button.

Map day 1


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David Mercer2001