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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pointe Helbronner

Our next destination is to Pointe Helbronner (3,462 m), a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps on the watershed between France and Italy.

We didn't need to wait for a long time to board on a cabin...this is great cause frankly speaking, I was very exhausted already. We guess one of the reasons this ride was not congested is due to its high price. For the 4 of us, the round ticket had cost € 72 (€ 24 for adults, € 12 for children).

Worth it or not, we shall see....

The cabin can only fit max 4 person at a time. That means we didn't need to share the cabin with anyone else. For this, we were very pleased. William's facial expression had best described our feelings at that time.

When the gondola slided slowly into the vast, we were absolutely stunned with the views right in front of us. For a brief second, I thought we have gone to the heaven.

This place is like an vast ocean, a white ocean. But in fact, they are glaciers.

Thank God I have the opportunity to come here to see all these with my own eyes, I have less regret in my life now.

We have ride over the heads of many rock climbers, skiers and high alpine hikers. It's a kind of pity that we couldn't join them in this amazing play ground, not without the necessary mountaineering gears.

I think it's not possible to cross over these glaciers within a day. Probably they will need to put up some nights here by setting up camps like the one we saw down there. So cool...

For the ordinary mountain tourists like us, we sat comfortably in the cabin and let it take us sail across the white ocean.

Perhaps the experience we had is nothing too spectacular if compare to those who actually walk on it. Too bad husband and I can only imagine that experience for our life time. Maybe our sons will have the guts to become one of them when they grow up later.

Mer de Glace at the far side.

The ride offers a panoramic view of the Mont Blanc, and the surrounding rugged mountains and deep beneath the gondolas lying Vallee Blanche, the Glacier du Geant, the Glacier du Tacul and the Mer de Glace.

Looking back to the station of Aiguille du Midi, from where we came. It looks like a needle from far.

Small gondolas to Pointe Helbronner, 3 cabins at a time.

The 3 men in the small gondola.

Amazing panoramas with snow covered jagged peaks and spectacular glaciers.

Awesome...I just couldn't keep my eyes away from it.

Every now and then, we get to see things at different angle and altitude. They have never failed to impress me with its beauty throughout the whole journey.

At this point, Aiguille du Midi has become one of the rocks surrounding the white ocean.

The cracks on the glacier, could be few meters to few kilometers in depth.

The 3 godollas that opposite us.

We have have travelling for about 20 minutes by then. The boys started to ask for the things they could play with when we reached the end point there.

The joint of 2 glaciers can be seen clearly from here.

Another glacier flowing from our right hand side.

The 4 hikers down there look merely some tiny dots in the vast ocean. How insignificant.

It's amazing to see the cabins are moved by only 2 wheels rolling on the rope...How did they come up with that brilliant idea at the first place?

From the illustration, it said the gondolas are fixed on the traction cable so, for every stop in the
station, all the other cars along the line must stop (five stops lasting 1 to 2 minutes).

I was thinking if the cabins ever fall, we may have fallen into one of those deep cracks down there. Can we be spotted by the rescuers? Thinking of it made me feel creepy...

Anyway, I haven't heard of any tragic accidents happened along this ride. What a blessing.

Passing by another glacier at our left hand side.

This mountain looks so cool.

The 2nd cabin, the one in front of ours.

Watching the 3 gondolas moving its way back to Aiguille du Midi's station.

I watched them till they moved far away from us.

another set of gondolas were heading back...

Although we can't make it to the further side, maybe we can make it to this point?

The Pte Helbronner station can be seen from here now...

Mountain Vistas

Slowing approaching the alps near Italian side.

About 30 minutes later, we reached the viewing platform at Pt Helbronner.

Climbers Scupture of Crusifix at the top of Pointe Helbronner.

Something did happen to me though. I have lost a very important thing, which was my sun glasses somewhere at Aiguille du Midi. To be honest, I was quite upset about the lost cause I love that sun glasses. Furthermore, it has served me for more than 2 years.

Not wanting to harm my precious eyes by the strong UV rays, I had to stay in the platform alone while husband taking the boys to the snow field downs there for a play.

While being alone, I spent considerable amount of time looking at each signboard and matching the peaks one by one....

The side in France territory.

It seems that every significant peak has its own name, interesting....

About 20 min later, husband texted me and said he was coming up to give me his sunglasses so that I could go down to the snow field. I looked down the snow field, and could roughly figure out him and the boys.

At the viewing platform.

The side in Italy territory.

The peaks were covered with less snow at that side.

When husband came up and handed me his sunglasses at the platform, I started to walk down to the snow field.

Since the boys were still there on their own, I wanted to walk the way as fast as I could.

Station at the Pointe Helbronner, with Telecabine de la Vallee Blanche. It combines the Aiguille du Midi and the Pointe Helbronner each other over a distance of nearly 5 km. The cabin cross the line between Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner in 30-35 minutes, including 5 short stops during which each lasts for a cabin in the group end stations.

From Pointe Helbronner, one can also choose to go down to the Italian side with another cable car (Funive Monte Bianco) to La Palud in Courmayeur.

The stairs leading to the snow field downs there.

The panoramic on the right hand side of the field.

Seriously, I was thinking if we could just walk out there with normal outfits?

The snowy slope heading to the field is very slippery. I got to grab the rope very tight and walked like a turtle so that I won't fall badly. Gosh, though a short distance, I had used 20X more time should I walked normally.

Hi, sweetie, go0d to see you again.

It's a great feeling, isn't it?

Sun bathing on the snow beach.

I let them played for another 20 min before husband text me and said we should leave the place according to the number. And the departure time was 30 minutes later.

Before leaving, I asked for a 'chok' look, and they gave me this. I love it.

Unlike me, the boys walked up much faster than me. Within a minute, they have gone way too far already.

To me, walking up this stairs was much more difficult than walking down. I started panting in the midway. Although I stopped immediately, that's didn't help me to recover fast.Worst, I felt like passing out after a while. I was so scared, almost wanted to shout for help.

Luckily after some long deep breath, I felt much better and could continue to walk up the stairs.

When I walked back to the platform, I saw the boys were sitting over there to wait for me.

Then, we walked down to the crystal house (Mostra dei Cristalli) to meet husband who was waiting there.

We didn't spend much time in the crystal house to read up those information, cause we need to go back to Aiguille du Midi according to the number, and it's almost time up by then.

Anyway, I snapped some photos. And I wish we have the luck to find a giant piece of crystal in the mountain area later on.

The mountain as viewed from a window in the crystal house, like a beautiful painting.

After crossing this border line of Italia and France, we were back to France again in a blink second.

Vincent started to feel unwell, said his head was spinning. Knowing this is one of the symptoms of altitude sickness, we just wanted to descend asap.

Luckily, Vincent felt better when we get into the cabin and slided back.

Ok, sailing across the white ocean again.

Think this would be a difficult part for the hikers.

I was so fascinating to see these people doing the activity that I have no guts to do.

Can see the peak of Aiguille du Midi again.

Having one of the stops along the line.

Saw 2 people climbing the rocks at here, I think I can sit in the cabin all day to watch them climb.

Such a beautiful scene, I just couldn't move my eyes from it.

This gondola ride was amazingly beautiful., the best we had had so far.

In conclusion, I would say this ride is definitely worth all the money we have spent for it. In fact, I think the price is super worthwhile. Should the ticket requires double the amount, I would still say it's worth to go for it.

Ok, will be back to Aiguille du Midi station soon.

Again, saw these dare-devil climbers conquering the rocks.

The time was nearly 5.30 pm by then. We were really exhausted, so we didn't stay any longer at the station.

Good bye. I wish you a long life.

Passing through a souvenir shop before getting into another cable car that would take us to lower elevation.

Well, though feeling dead tired, I was very content about this trip.


Gargles said...

it's really good to see you and KS pairing up so harmoniously and lovingly. A good holiday like this definitely sweeten up the bond between both of you and with the boys too, I'm sure. I'm happy for you.

jessylee said...

KS and I are doing ok lo, no point to fight or argue in holiday mah.

I just let him be "tai lou" the whole time, and I goyang-goyang-kaki, just to take photos only.

Maybe that's why we can pair up so harmoniously, haha...

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