Day 3 Wednesday 15th July 2015
Aiguilette des Houches 2285m – Le Brevent 2525m
Quote of the day: “I have a new found respect for the hobbits in Lord of the Rings, they walked for bloody miles to Mordor and they did it bare foot”
My favourite day so far. Well it started off a little rocky; my alarm went off at 7:50am as our circuit class was starting at 8. Should I stay in bed an extra 45 minute and chin off the class!? So tempting, but no! I’m far too stubborn for that. I got up and walked to the back of the chalet. Mark, Simon and I were the only ones up. Shame on the other guys! I did think it was hilarious that I got to slam a med ball against Jens bedroom wall as she tried to sleep though! The class was tough, lots of plyometric training; we basically jumped for 45 minutes. Worked up an appetite for breakfast and yet again stuffed my face in preparation for a whole days hike.
We set off and headed towards Aiguilette des Houches at 2285m. We had a nice leisurely start, up through the forest, it wasn’t too steep so was a nice warm up. We were all pretty tired from the night before, following the wine tasting we went out to a local pub to see a funk band play and some of us decided it would be a good idea to follow all the wine with some tequila based cocktails! We got to the bottom of our first ascent and decided to attack the climb really hard and fast and reached a height of 400m in 35 minutes. When I completed that section I met with Damien at the top, and he greeted me with the following statement ‘Emma, for someone who spends most of their time in pubs, you are really blooming fit’! – Thanks Damien, I will take that a compliment!
Hydration is key! Especially in this heat (and with a slight hangover). I had some H2pro electrolyte tablets in my water which worked wonders for me. I felt much more awake and alert than the previous day when I was just drinking plain water. We waited for the others to reach us and then we had the final push to the very top, or ‘the dining room’ as Francois likes to call it, I don’t know whether he thinks we may push harder and faster if we associate the top of the mountain with lunch. We got to the top and as always the views were breath-taking. It was really amazing to see Mont Blanc so close. There was a big lake at the top and people were sitting around it relaxing and some people were going for a dip. We sat and had lunch. Some of us fell asleep in the sun – myself included, Damien saw this as a great photo opportunity:
After lunch, we set off again along a lovely grassy route. The grass was bouncy and felt really nice under foot. We walked pretty leisurely for about 40 minutes or so, just taking in the views and enjoying the colourful plants and flowers and the really shiny rocks that sparkled in the sun like diamonds. We reached a point where the team were going to separate. Half were starting the descent back down to Chamonix, and half were carrying on up to Le Brevent at 2525m. Mark, Chris and Damien were going up and I am so glad I decided to join them. I absolutely loved it. I was exhausted from the day so far, but I got a new lease of life on the journey up. I was jumping from rock to rock, using my poles to catapult me up and over, it was so much fun!
We set ourselves a target of getting to the Brevent lift in less than an hour and we made it up in 35 minutes despite me taking the lead and taking a wrong turn which meant we ended up way off the trail and having to find our way back. I learnt about cairns – a pile of rocks sitting on a pile of rocks and being used as a way to guide you along the trail seemed like a strange concept to me, but once I knew what to look for it became easier. It was boiling hot and it felt almost like we weren’t in Chamonix but in Arizona at the Grand Canyon, the rocks were orange and red and it felt dusty and dry like the desert.
We reached Brevent, I had a cheeky cornetto (it was amazing) and then we got the lift down to meet the others at Elevation for a Panache, before heading back to the Chalet for a shower, dinner and chill time. Dinner was very yummy, I impressed everyone with the amount of pork I could consume. A day in the mountains sure gives you a big appetite, the group have come to know me as the one who is permanently hungry and there is now even something they call ‘doing an Emma’ – but I shan’t go in to that!
– Emma Cox Physio4Life Clinic Manager