What I like about Chamonix is that every person here (except for sightseeing tourists) risked his, sometimes hers, life to have that drink at the end of the day. They all come with their own story: the mountains they climbed, the canyons they jumped into, the air they glided through… It all comes down to the good company over a drink at the end of the day. With no fear for the future. Just the happy faces appreciative of the day gone well, with no accidents, with no injuries, and with good memories shared with good friends.. It’s not about money. Your status is frowned upon here. It’s about your character. And physical abilities. To meet and greet the real world head on. Solo. And not with army of management team. It’s about your attitude. Not your authority. The only authority these guys have is mother nature. And it’s far beyond any human being. No matter what many human beings think.
Yes, canyoning. Not canoeing. What I thought in the beginning. Kayaking? – was my last hope. Nope. That was so far the most extrememly absurd thing I’d done. But it starts quite innocently. You put on a wetsuit, like for diving. And harness, like for climbing. And that’s pretty much what you’re gonna be doing: diving and rappelling down a canyon, filled with ice cold mountain water.
So my ass was kicked by the mountain I least expected it from. 4810m, how hard can it be, right? Wrong!
“50% chance of success” – they said. “Naaaaa” – I thought.
Brief intro just in case: Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe and EU. Also commonly known as Monte Bianco (for Italians). Or as a Death Mountain or White Killer (for pessimists). The reason for the later nicknames is quite obvious: although the mountain is relatively “low” (compared to Himalayas, or Andes for example), the number of people trying to climb it is quite high, resulting in a higher death rate, proportionally. Now enough with statistics. If you ask me: it’s not the mountain, it’s the joyfully crazy people that flock to Mont Blanc that top up the scales. If you stick to the “Normal route” and just plan to move your feet – you should be fine (unless avalanche hits and swipes you off those feet – about that later). But people there are nothing but normal, and so they leave this route for us, amateurs, and go up the mountain in some batshit crazy ways, and go down even in a crazier ones.