One of the highlights of my trip to Chamonix, France was going up Aigulle du Midi at 3842m; the highest altitude I have been at so far. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like hiking and climbing up almost 3km in altitude from Chamonix – There is a very convenient cable car that will take up to 2317m first and then you switch to another cable car that will take you all the way up.
The difference in altitude between the town and the mountain is so huge that the weather can be completely different. Needless to say, it will be a lot colder up on the mountain! When I wanted to go up the weather in Chamonix was, well pretty crappy. It was cloudy, I could not see any blue sky and it looked like it might rain. This is why I was a little sceptical when the ticket office staff swore that it was really amazing up there right now and that I should hurry before it changes. I took their word for it, I couldn’t really do anything else, and hopped on the cable car.
It’s amazing how many people you fit into those swaying little cable cars, it was almost claustrophobic! The ride was ok, it rocked a little but nothing too nauseating. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that I am afraid of heights? The second cable car ride was much scarier for a couple of reasons. First, there really were no clouds and you could see everything except the valley below and I was literally above the clouds. Secondly, the second ride is a lot steeper than the gradual ascent of the first cable car. It looked like we were going to hit the rocks but thankfully we just went up, not forward. I have to confess that I may have let out a small squeaking sound when the cable car swayed a little more than usual at one spot.
Up on the mountain the views were absolutely breathtaking. Climbing even a short set of stairs in that altitude was also breathtaking! I could really feel that the air was thinner in almost 4km and it was mind blowing to think that those brave ones who attempt to summit Mt Blanc only start their trek here. Even if you are scared of heights and terrified of cable cars these views are well worth it. I mean look at the scenery!
If you are in the Chamonix area, it’s definitely worth visiting Aigulle du Midi. Although, it’s a little bit risky to go there just for that in case the weather is not good ‘up there’, because it’s really not worth the cost (55€ if I remember correctly) if you can’t enjoy the views! Luckily Chamonix is a cute little place to spend a couple of outdoorsy days and wait for the weather to be ideal.
Would you go up and visit if you were in the area? Are you at all afraid of heights like me?