Today’s image dates from two summers ago – A tiny vignette of the Mont Blanc massif as the clouds briefly parted as we descended into the Chamonix valley from the Swiss border.
Chamonix sits in a deep, steep sided valley that runs NE to SW and forms the northern boundary of the Mont Blanc Massif. Approached from Switzerland (from the NE) the road climbs steeply out of Martigny to the high point of the Col de la Forclaz before starting its long twisting descent across the Swiss/French border and onward towards Chamonix. From this direction the massif abruptly comes into view – a panorama formed predominantly of jagged rocky peaks. Approached from the opposite direction from the SW (from Geneva), the massif is slowly revealed as a range of predominantly snowy mountains, as the Autoroute Blanche weaves through a vast flat plain before a series of rising steps on the final approach to the Chamonix valley. Both approaches are spectacular, each one presenting the viewer with a different initial impression of this huge massif.
Returning to today’s image. The weather was clearing, clouds swirling. I was driving, one eye on the road, the other peering out at the mountainscape. Suddenly the clouds parted, and a clutch of jagged peaks materialized, impossibly high in the sky. I knew that this view would not last long, thankfully a parking place was conveniently close. I had just time to grab a couple of shots before the clouds rolled back in and the peaks disappeared.
This is one of the clusters of Aiguilles (French for needles) seen prominently from the Chamonix valley. The small top right peak – above an inverted snow triangle – is the Aiguille du Plan. The flattish bulky summit just right of centre on the horizon is the Dent du Crocodile. The remarkable slender spire of rock between them is, I think, the Aiguille des Pelerins (mountaineers who don’t agree, please let me know).
This is just a small section of the chain of subsidiary peaks that are visible from the Chamonix valley. For a set of images showing the complete view, do take a look at an earlier post showing the chain under a variety of lighting conditions – The Chamonix Aiguilles. And…glance up at the header image on this home page and you might notice that today’s image is of the Rt cluster of peaks – although seen from a different angle.