Day 2 Tuesday 14th July 2015
Grand Balcon Nord and Chalet de la Pendant 1778m
Last night we had a fantastic evening meal on the balcony, wonderfully prepared by CHX chef, Phil. We consumed far too much cheese, in fact the cheese board we were given was intended for the entire week but we managed to get through most of it in one sitting! The dairy overload must have supressed our alcohol cravings because we consumed sufficiently less alcohol than the previous evening and we all got a reasonably early night!…well Jen, Chris and Simon did the smart thing of hitting the hay early, Mark and I were drawn once again to the games room and played foosball until we couldn’t stay awake any longer. I am determined to beat him in best of 10 one day!
Waking up out of my cheese coma, I was pleasantly surprised to find I didn’t have DOMS and I was really excited to be spending another day in the mountains. I merrily made my way to breakfast. I made sure not to make the same mistake as I did the previous day and I ate a massive breakfast. Rye bread, eggs, avocado, porridge and fruit, in much larger servings! A less than subtle hint from Damien, about ‘leaving no later than 9am on the button’ whilst looking at Jen, who suffered from ‘the first day faff’ yesterday…! But all went smoothly and we were prepared and ready to roll by 9.
Another gorgeous day in Chamonix, 25c. We headed straight towards the forest leading to Grand Balcon Nord and Chalet de la Pendant at 1778m. What a fantastic ascent. I really enjoyed it. We were winding up and around the mountain, through the trees and we hit pretty impressive speed. Some of us did the ascent 40 minutes quicker than it is typically completed. Result!
I was alone for most of the journey up. Behind Ali, Mark, Simon and Francois, who had fled up and out of sight by sprinting for 2 minutes and then speed hiking for 2 minutes, but in front of Jen, Damien and Chris who were starting off slow and steady as it was a long and gradual incline. At one point I thought I may have missed a turning, but that would have been impossible! An hour of trekking up alone and I was well and truly in the zone! I reached the others who were waiting at a junction for us for a quick water break before we started the next stage of our journey up to Tete du Prapator at 1859m. The views from the top were incredible. No photo could ever do it justice but we took lots anyway. Francois was showing us how far the glacier had receded in 50 years, which is pretty amazing.
No lunch for us at the top as we were only doing half a day’s hike. The descent was thoroughly enjoyable for me; it was so interesting and fun. The descent we had done yesterday was mainly down dirt tracks and that can get a bit monotonous after a couple of hours. This descent was steep and involved clambering over rocks, up and over massive tree roots, climbing down a muddy ladder and hanging on to chains along a thin ridge at one point. We crossed small waterfalls, clambered over a few more rocks and eventually we were back on the long and winding route down the mountain through the forest. The next part of the descent was not so enjoyable for me! I thought I had a rock in my boot so I stopped to check it out. Turns out I just had a stabbing pain in my ankle…walking down was pretty painful so I took it slowly. Turns out it was my peroneal nerve playing up so it hurt to walk down hill. Luckily I had a physiotherapist on hand who sorted me out when we got back to the chalet, fingers crossed it will have settled by tomorrow.
We had yet again an amazing lunch, a couple of hours rest, a short chill in the hot tub and then we were ready for another beasting by Geoff in our circuit class. Lunging holding logs above our head, push pressing logs, mountain runs and more of the plank, 45 minutes later we were well and truly done! But it wasn’t over! We had an amazing yoga class really focusing on stretching. Just what we needed.
Showered and fresh we headed to the balcony for wine tasting, red, white and rose, and all of them were fantastic. Dinner was salmon, plantain and vegetables followed by more cheese! Overall, what a fantastic day. Couldn’t ask for a better group.
– Emma Cox
Physio4Life Clinic Manager