This is a biggie... Our first mountain over 3k elevation - Dents du Midi - well known around for rewarding hikers for their efforts.
I have planned this trip for long. I knew this would be a cherry on a pie this year, I talked with many people who tried hiking it. I didn't find it suspicious that all of them said it was a very easy mountain and yet, none of them had actually made it to the top! Now I kind of understand it more...
Dents du Midi is a series of seven summits, Haute Cime being the highest and the only hikeable of them. 3257 m - that what it is!
We started by a clear blue skies, on a beautiful morning, and soon reached lac de Salanfe. Haute Cime was towering right above the lake, inviting us to continue on walking. Boy, we were really excited by this hike!
The greenery was gradually perishing, leaving us with rocky views.
Most hikers split this trip to two days, staying overnight at Sulanfe hut. We decided to have all the fun in one day, which would be around 9 hours and over 20 km in distance. Thanks to this approach we were kind of the only ones at the trail up, since all other mountain lovers were already descending when we were in a quarter of our way to the top.
Col de Susanfe and its lunar surroundings. Already tired but not yet expecting the difficulties to come...
We went past all the hikers at Col de Susanfe and began our lonely duel with the mountain. For the first time in my life I experienced this feeling of a battle with still nature. The fact that we became the only ones on the trail was menacing to me. The weather was getting worse and worse. We had a very strong wind (I checked later, it was around 80 km/h) and clouds were lurking in. The shortness of breath became more and more apparent due to lack of oxygen but the worst thing was - we lost the trail! Technically the mountain was easy - that's true. But in the end most of my colleagues who didn't finish this hike said they would turn back because they were lost. And it's true, it was very easy to lose the path and unfortunately we did. We ended up hiking on a gravel that made us slide down with every step. I don't want to sound dramatic but it was a real challenge to us to fight these conditions.
The pictures above are taken from Col de Paresseux - Pass of the Lazy. I guess the name is taken from the fact that many people turn back at this point. We continued, but the final 200 m were dreadful. Clouds finally covered the view, we were exhausted, cold and anxious about being alone in the mountains. But we made it and I am very proud of that.
We had no views at the top but we were so tired we didn't even care. Now I do care of course :) It's a pity you can't see the abyss below the wobbling cross that made me hold my breath. I have to say, I did feel reassured when we started descending.