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Aiguille du Midi, Plan de’l Aiguille and hiking back to Chamonix, France

9 October 2014 

I was up and out early this morning as the skies were clear and it seemed like a beautiful day for hiking. I went to the Aiguille du Midi cable car station and purchased a one way ticket to the intermediate stop, Plan de’l Aiguille (2317m).

I could have purchased a ticket to the higher station Aiguille du Midi (3,842 m) but was a little worried about getting altitude sickness so early into my trip by ascending at 10 meters per second on the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world.

Cable car to Plan de l Aiguille du Midi


Plan de l'Aiguille to Aiguille du Midi by cable car

At Plan de’l Aiguille it was boiling hot.

zaid chamonix from aiguille du midi

You get a much clearer view of Mont Blanc from this altitude.

mont blanc hiking from aiguille du midi
zaid with mont blanc background from aiguille du midi


Mont Blanc Zoom in

A wondered around a little and then took the 20 minute trail to see Lac de Blu.

Lac de Bleu French Apls

Admittedly the lake looks more blue in my photos than what I could actually see.

Zaid aiguille de chamonix

I tried going higher up by hiking on the ridge’s loose small rocks without hiking poles.

rock boulders at the base of Aiguilles de Chamonix.

At some point I stopped, turned around and slowly came down. It would have been harder to get back down if I continued any further.

base of Aiguilles de Chamonix.

From where I was,  I could see many of the mountain peaks in Chamonix Valley.

map of summits chamonix valley

mountain peaks chamonix france

I headed back toward the Plan de’l  Aiguille station and stopped at the restaurant beside it for apple tart with an ice cold Orangina, and a Twix chocolate for my hike down.

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille mont blanc and cable station

I then embarked on my 3 hour hike to Chamonix town.

Plan de l'aiguille trail sign to chamonix

I passed by a helicopter landing zone and paragliding launch point.

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille helicopter tour

Then continued on the trail to town.

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille chamonix valley

About 20 minutes into the hike down towards Chamonix I passed Refuge Plan de’l Aiguille at 2207m altitude.

Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille.jpg hikers

They also serve refreshments and snacks here. I saw a number of young hikers on the way up.

Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille

The vistas on the way down were simply amazing.

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille pine tree

Path from Plan de l' Aiguille du Midi to Chamonix

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille in colors

I love hiking through forests.

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille trail

travpacker forest trail chamonix from plan de l'aiguille du midi

forest looking up at pine trees chamonix

Traversée Montenvers-Plan de l’Aiguille fallen tree chamonix

By 6pm I was back in town. In the reverse direction it should take 3,5 hours to hike up to Plan de’Aiguille.

signpost refuge du plan de l aiguille from chamonix

I proceeded to collected some Travpacker printed shirts and an embroidered cap from the Custom Graphic store in town. They did a superb job.

Custom Graphics Chamonix tshirt print

I then ate another halal meal at the Turkish Cappedocie restaurant before returning to Mountain Highs Chamonix.

Cappeodocie restaurant chamonix wall menu

After all that hiking it was a pleasure to try out the hot tub and sauna at the hostel that night. How many hostels have these facilities? I had a discussion with a New Zealander and 2 Scotts. From them I learnt about Bla Bla Cars a car-sharing service that is popular in that area. The guys were saying that a ride from Chamonix to Zurich using this service is not much cheaper than using public transport. Maybe 5 euros are knocked off the public transport price.

After showering, having some snacks and tea I turned in for the night.

I visited Chamonix on my own. If you’re interested in visiting as part of an active group tour, consider the options offered by G Adventures or Intrepid Travel who have free days in their itinerary for you to see some of these sites or hike to Chalet La Flora on your own / with your group.

About Zaid

Zaid is an intrepid traveler from South Africa that has traveled to all 7 continents. He loves to explore new destinations, experience new activities and go off the beaten path.
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