As part of my continuing mission to get photos around the Massif, I'd run into the problem of Mont Blanc's "wild side"; the Italian part of the range. After several days of hiking around the Val Ferret and Val Veny Valleys, I concluded that the only way of getting decent photos of some features was from the air. Not a chore by any means, but not cheap either.
Jack, Tom and Sharon joined me on Sunday and we went through the tunnel to Courmayeur where I realised a long held ambition (sorry, "did some work") by flying around the Mont Blanc Massif in a heli. We flew with GMH Helicopter services who were really helpful, tailored the flight to exactly what we wanted and were superb to deal with throughout. Before any allegations are made, they didn't offer me a discount to say that (!) but they deserve a pat on the back for doing such a good job.
Some of the shots are from Jack, Sharon and Tom but I had over 1100 photos to go through so who took what is tricky to figure out; apologies for the lack of photo credits.
Plotting. When paying by the minute, efficiency counts.
Pre-flight checks. Looked alright to me.
Headed for Mont Blanc.
All done at the Dômes de Miage. Trying to get the required shots while not hanging around too long was tricky but sitting in the open door of a helicopter, hovering above Mont Blanc is pretty cool whatever the situation.
The Dômes de Miage looking pretty dry.
The west face of Mont Blanc.
Looking up at the Freney Pillars and the Innominata ridge.
Cool close up view of the Dent du Géant.
Grand Jorasses south face.
One last look before landing.
So, an amazing experience but unfortunately one I might not be repeating anytime soon unless the lottery numbers come up.
After a really long, hot summer the weather is a bit rough in Cham now but the sun looks set to reappear in a few days. As has been the case most of the season, I'd say that rock climbs, away from potential rockfall areas, would be the way to go when the good weather returns. The Envers des Aiguilles would be a good shout, as would the Aiguilles Rouges.
Hopefully autumn will begin to creep into the Valley soon and mountaineering conditions might begin to improve. In the meantime, get your rockboots out and enjoy some golden granite.