The Chamonix Aiguilles

I think it’s time I devoted a Post to the Header image that will have become familiar to all of you who visit this Photoblog. It’s not easy finding and cropping an image into the thin letterbox format required for a header; so a slight stretch of the original image and an adjustment to the positioning of the foreground was required to shoehorn it into place. The original uncropped image is below and the same view under different guises will punctuate this post as you read on.

The Chamonix Aiguilles on fire - click to enlarge

These are the peaks that are collectively known as The Chamonix Aiguilles. Three clusters of ‘Aiguilles’, in fact, in the range 11,375-12,025ft rising on average 8,100ft above the Chamonix valley floor and at a distance of over 2.5miles as the crow flies, although they seem so much closer than that. On their own they are a superb chain of summits but they are just a small part of a huge panorama of peaks, including Mont Blanc (15,625ft) itself, that towers majestically above the town of Chamonix in the French Alps as shown in the panoramic image below, taken from a vantage point above the town.

Chamonix Panorama - click to enlarge

Panorama from Lt: The Chamonix Aiguilles, Aig du Midi, MB du Tacul, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc, Dome du Gouter, Aig du Gouter

For those not familiar with French, ‘Aiguille’ means Needle and is pronounced approximately A(as in Able)-Gwee. There are a lot of Granite peaks in this area of the French Alps that justify this appellation due to their steep rock walls and pointed summits.

Chamonix Aiguilles - early morning - click to enlarge

Chamonix sits in a deep valley carved out by the River Arve that runs NE to SW forming the NW boundary of the Mont Blanc Massif.

Chamonix Aiguilles - High Noon - click to enlarge

The Mont Blanc Massif in its entirety includes 11 major peaks over 4000M and another 20 or so subsidiary summits also over 4000M (approx 13,000ft). It covers an area of approx 235 sq miles shared between France, Italy and Switzerland. It may not occupy a huge area geographically, but no other area of the Alps has such a tightly concentrated collection of high mountains and named glaciers (71 of them). It’s also an area rich in walking and the 110 mile Tour du Mont Blanc that circles the massif features in many of the lists compiled of the world’s ten greatest multi-day walks.

Chamonix Aiguilles - late afternoon - click to enlarge

Chamonix is intrinsically linked with Mont Blanc as it was from here that Mont Blanc was first climbed in 1786. It is now a world-renowned centre for extreme Alpine sports – climbing, skiing, boarding, para-gliding etc. You can feel the buzz and the adrenaline when you sit outside one of the town’s many bars on a warm summer’s day and gaze up at the peaks. We nearly bought an apartment here a few years ago (Chamonix feels like a second home to us) but eventually baulked at the high cost – a wise decision in view of the currency fluctuations since then.

Chamonix Aiguilles - evening light - click to enlarge

The view of the mountain range from the town is never exactly the same – the light changes by the hour, the sky changes with the weather; each season brings its own colours and changes to the snow cover. Whenever you look it always seems fresh and it always inspires. For me, waking up in the morning and glancing at this view is like greeting a friend.

Chamonix Aiguilles - low lying mist after rain - click to enlarge

Chamonix Aiguilles - after mid-winter snow - click to enlarge

Chamonix Aiguilles - April snow clearing - click to enlarge

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
This entry was posted in French Alps - Summer, MountainScape, Sunrise and Sunset and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Chamonix Aiguilles

  1. Dave DiCello says:

    Oh wow Andy, these are just breathtaking images. The different colors and lighting and various angles you’ve captured them from are just incredible. Really great work man.

  2. Stunning shots here Andy. It’s such beautiful scenery and you’ve done an amazing job capturing it.

  3. Andy…incredible images. I knew nothing about these mountains so thank you for this wonderful post.

  4. Jimi Jones says:

    Amazing images, Andy! Really nice to see these great scenes, man. Simply breathtaking. I like them all but that “Evening Light” is magical.

  5. Adam Allegro says:

    Wow, what an amazing post. I would love to visit this place. Maybe I will look in to skiing here this winter! Fantastic images Andy!

  6. Andy, Great series of images, thanks for sharing. I hope to photograph them someday!

  7. Marc says:

    Great series of images. Some of the lighting on those mountains is amazing. Well captured.

  8. Len Saltiel says:

    These are just stunning images Andy. Love the light and the ruggedness of your header image. I would love to visit here someday.

  9. theaterwiz says:

    Beautiful shots! well done

  10. Fab and contrasting shots of one of my favourite mountain ridges. I agree a mountain ridge does make a good image for the header incidentally mine is a photoshoped Dents du Midi.

  11. anorwen says:

    It’s amazing how the same place changes depending on time of day and the season. Breathtaking photos!

  12. Jill says:

    “Chamonix Aiguilles – after mid-winter snow” Just gorgeous!

Comments are closed.