Normally as the summer season comes to a close in the Alps i'd be packing up for autumn in the UK, but not this year! In October I leave to work in Nepal leading treks in the Everest 'Khumbu' region. My desire to travel and visit the worlds mountains ranges was the incentive for my job. What a job!? The Mount Everest National Park has been a popular destination for trekkers since the 1950's and I will be in the Khumbu for 2 months leaving Lindsay to hold the fort for Tracks and Trails!
Apart from leading treks I also have another goal whilst on other side of the globe and that's Everest Marathon! So, myself and a fellow runner, Janet (who keeps claiming she's not a runner!), will join a total of about 70 runners from around the world, along with a few local Sherpas, to run from Basecamp (5184m), 42km to Namche Bazaar at (3446m). Ok so it's pretty much gently downhill... until a 500m climb towards the end, the sting in the tale! Janet and I recently completed a 5 day run as part of our training where we ran the famous Walkers Haute Route (High Level Walkers route across the Alps) which involved going from Chamonix, France to Zermatt in Switzerland covering aournd 135km crossing many high passes with a total of 9,000m ascent. And she says she's not a runner! I will be in touch to blog between trips and let you know how we get on.
Another stunning day in the Chamonix Valley. This summer really has been amazing in terms of sunshine and generally great weather. Yesterday, I made my first trip this year along the Grand Balcon Nord high above the valley, and was reminded yet again that the Victorians in thier quest for fresh air and beautiful views definitely knew where to put a path! At the moment the autumn colours are beginning to come through with the 'myrtilles' turning deep red and the Rowan berries are hanging heavy on the trees.
After the traverse we pushed on up to Le Signal Forbes the high point where Scottish scientist James Forbes carried out his observations of the Mer de Glace Glacier. Nice for me as a Scot, to know that our understanding of how glaciers work and move was defined by a fellow countryman. The views from here as you can hopefully see from the photo are absolutly stunning and there is always a satisfying collective gasp from our clients as they glimpse this natural wonder for the first time.
The Mer de Glace, or Sea of Ice, at 7 km's long and 200 metres deep is the longest glacier in France. Like all glaciers, it is constantly renewed under the effect of two phenomena: accumulation of snowfall and also melting. It flows permanently under the effect of its own weight and although not perceptible to the naked eye, it is considerable. From more than 120 meters a year in its upper part, the Mer de Glace moves about 90 meters per year in the region of Montenvers, which is about one centimeter per hour.