Are you brave enough to take the first step on this trail?
And then the further you go the more extreme it gets.
Most trailheads are flat areas beside a road or at the end of an access road. The trail usually starts out gentle or moderate as it leads to terrain that the road doesn’t or can’t reach. There may be several hours of walking along a stream before you reach the big climbs to a peak or a mountain lake or a waterfall. The challenging terrain is usually found after a long walk from the trailhead, in general.
This trailhead is a gutcheck.
The trail leads to climbing and skiing routes. The trailhead is reached by cable car from Chamonix, France up to the top of Aiguille du Midi which is a sheer granitic spire. The elevation is about 12,638 feet (3842 meters). Everywhere you go from the top of the cable car leads to dramatic and dangerous terrain. Too many lives have been lost in these mountains.
As you can see the first few steps over this boot-width trail on the jagged rock are not for the casual hiker. Mont Blanc provides the dramatic backdrop.
A spirited competition among early climbers to reach the summit of Mont Blanc lead to success in 1786. Chamonix became a mountain destination for vacationers but did not have rail service until 1901.
My daughter and I rode the cable car to photograph Mont Blanc on the first sunny morning during our stay. Clouds still filled the valley below. My wife and other daughter chose the comfort of a flat and safe village restaurant terrasse. We weren’t prepared for this kind of hiking/climbing so we stayed on the observation decks of the cable car building. I don’t think I would be able to take that first step on this trailhead anyway. The dropoffs were very intimidating.
There are more photos of the Mont Blanc area in my France gallery. Follow the Photography link above.