Grand Combin

23BW-leaving hut,view to Grand Combin

The Grand Combin seen from the edge of the Corbassiere Glacier

Today’s image was taken from around the midpoint of the nine or ten day backpacking Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.  There are several ‘versions’ of the Haute Route (High Route in English). It started as a multi-day ski tour for Ski Mountaineers many years ago, and then a summer version for walkers was developed that worked its way around, rather than over, the ranges of mountains between Chamonix and Zermatt.  Then more recently Mountaineering versions have become popular. The Mountaineer’s version goes over a series of high Cols and takes in a summit or two along the way with nights in high mountain refuges. It’s more direct than the others and takes up to ten days, and there are several versions of it.

In 2005 I got as far as the Arolla valley – one valley short of Zermatt – before a stomach bug put paid to the last long climb over into the Zermatt valley. One of the high points came on Day 5. We spent the previous night in the Panossière Hut on the edge of the Corbassière Glacier. Setting out at six am on the fifth day we had a superb view up the glacier (still deep in shadow) to the Grand Combin, one of the giants of the European Alps.

This image was taken on my first digital camera – a little Sony compact. The file size of the images was less than a megabyte so they don’t enlarge brilliantly but it still give an idea of the sight that greeted us early that morning.


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.
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13 Responses to Grand Combin

  1. Chillbrook says:

    It’s a wonderful photograph and just goes to show, apart from the limitations regarding enlargements, the camera doesn’t always matter, it’s all about the picture!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much Adrian. Yes – it’s always about the picture and I’ve got to some great destinations in my travels in the Alps. Some day I must start work to digitize a huge library of Kodachromes, but it’s a huge task.

  2. Sue says:

    I agree with Adrian! Marvellous mountain scenery

  3. sixpixx says:

    Evocative photo. I once spent 10 months of my life in the French Alps. And, well done you for looking after your early digital images…. I think I’ve lost a whole period of photographic time to dodgy hard drives.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Sixpixx. So far, fingers very firmly crossed, I have all my images intact. But what I am annoyed about is that in my early days of digital when I was shooting JPGs, I did not save a copy of the original before editing – a very basic mistake in retrospect. You were very fortunate to spend that amount of time in the French Alps. We nearly bought an apartment in Chamonix about ten years ago. I wish we had in many ways, although I think financially, in retrospect, it is probably a good thing that we didn’t.

  4. shoreacres says:

    I started out making that mistake, too — not saving the original file before editing. Whenever I get myself disciplined to shoot in raw and use Lightroom, that will be a non-issue.

    I remember you mentioning before that there are opportunities for non-skiers to enjoy the scenery there. I like that. And just today, I came across this article, which I suspect will be of more than passing interest to you, if you haven’t seen it.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for the link, Linda. I hadn’t heard of this guy. Interesting research into the neuroscience aspects of fear. It is quite extraordinary what some people are capable of doing. I watched the footage of the American sky diver who recently jumped from 25,000ft without a parachute and safely landed in a 120ft safety net. Adrenaline junkies – I’m definitely not one of them!

  5. John Linn says:

    Nice picture Andy… do the glaciers still look like this? Seems our world is melting away.

    • LensScaper says:

      Don’t know about this one, John, but elsewhere I have noticed. and recorded, huge differences in glacier depth and length across the Alps over a period of time. Glaciers are in full retreat and they are changing the character of the mountains slowly making some approaches impossible.

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