An observatory inside a granite needle overlooking Mont Blanc near Chamonix, France. This is the Aiguille du Midi, or Middle Needle. A cable car from the valley floor ends at a terminal building with viewing decks. Vertical dropoffs surround the building which is perched on rock. Within the rock behind the observatory there is an elevator shaft to another viewing platform at the top of Aiguille du Midi.
The bravery and skill of the people who built the cable car line and tunneled into the solid granite are amazing. This serves as a starting point for many extreme skiing routes on Mont Blanc including the famous Vallée Blanche which is about 12 miles long.
Chamonix is a stunning alpine village and one of my favorite places. We had been in Chamonix for a couple days under a thick cloud cover. On our last day we decided to try to photograph anyway. When we walked up to the cable car ticket window we were greeted with a big, knowing smile and the great news “It’s sunny on top!” When we got to the top, the cloud cover below us made for interesting views into the high French Alps. Photo: 1/500 s at f/5.6 (2008)
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