“The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambitions to achieve. They are my cathedrals, the houses of my religion. Their presence is grand and pure. In their presence I attempt to understand my life, to purify myself of earthly vanity, greed and fear. From their vantage point, I view my past, dream of the future and with unusual acuteness I experience the present. In the mountains I celebrate creation, on each journey I am reborn.”
Climbing the South-West-Ridge of Aiguille du Midi (Arête des Cosmiques) and Pointe Lachenal in the French Alps in June 2016 with Lodi.
Arête des Cosmiques
From Chamonix we take the cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi (3840m) and traverse the Col du Midi to reach the starting point of the route at the old Abri Simond bivouac. Here we get ready for the climb, then we ascend the ridge over snow slabs.
Up and down we climb the gendarmes, skirting around rock towers. The route is often exposed, with the south face to the right and the tremendous north face dropping down almost vertically for 2800m to the left. Views towards the Mont Blanc massif are spectacular, Chamonix Valley lies deep below under a layer of clouds, Grandes Jorasses rises to the east.
Above the clouds we spend the night at the spectacularly located Cosmique Hut at 3610m.
Next day we climb Pointe Lachenal, a granite rock tower named after the great French alpinist Louis Lachenal. We ascend the snowy slope until we reach the narrow crest, taking in good views towards Grandes Jorasses and Dent du Géant.
From the top we abseil down to the glacier and walk back to the Aiguille du Midi cable car station, taking the lift down to Chamonix.