Sportlov (part 2): Aiguille du Midi Cable Car & the coronavirus creeps in
By Friday, we'd figured out the bus system... hop on, head down to Chamonix maybe 20 minutes. We watched the clouds starting to get stuck on the mountain top but figured it was still worth going up.
Our ski passes could be upgraded by paying an extra $30 to allow us a discounted ticket to the top (otherwise, around $200 for our family to go up on this crazy cable car).
This is a nutty part of the world. Take the steep and the exposure, add a collection of buildings, tunnels, and stairs at the top of it. To get here, you take one of the longest free standing cable in the world, strung in 1955. I've not had a chance to fully dig into the history, so you don't quite get the history lesson of other posts, though here's the wikipedia page.
[Upper photos: the left is a map from the chamonix.com site, and the right a photo from wikipedia. We couldn't see the top. Photos below are mine: a mural of the mountain guides of Chamonix, and what they used as a "cable car" in 1955 during construction.]
The cable car goes up in two stages, where you switch cars between. Amazing infrastructure.
At the base. Steel beam as support, cable car coming in.
View from our first stage- looking down to Chamonix, and up to the car coming down.
Stage 1 accomplished. So far, so good-- some degree of mountain top still showing. View up, and off to the side, complete with local weather station.
We had a reasonable # of people on the car with us. Get off the car, take pictures, wait for car #2 to the top. I'm guilty of taking pictures as well, but it definitely felt like people didn't really see what they were looking at so much as make sure they got their picture.
Cool views of the glaciers, other cable car coming down (moving an incredible speed), and lots of frozen rocks.
Sign inside: don't lean your skis against the wall, don't carry your skis in your pack, don't wear your crampons. Why? People ski off the top (including our intrepid friends, who did so on Monday of that week). Our view from the top gate? No part of me wanted to go through that gate wearing crampons nor planning to ski down.
Preview of forthcoming posts: another day of cross country skiing, a fantastic final day of alpine skiing, then the trip home to a world changed. Musings on the Swedish healthcare system, sick leave, and paid time off.