by Kelly Cordes
“Hot damn, how cool,” I said, flipping my mullet to the side. “Totally casual day in the mountains? Yeah, I’m in. Rock on.”
The forecast was for marginal weather, so I met Chip at a very civilized hour – quite civilized, in fact (everyone says “quite”). Time for coffee, breakfast, and then, by 9 a.m., nearly 10,000 feet higher we exited the tunnel atop the Aiguille du Midi téléphérique. 12,600' elevation. Howling winds. Blowing snow. Uhhh, casual? A sign warned us that we were on our own.
You walk through a little gate and onto a foot-wide, knife-edge snow ridge; one slip and you’re done, save for a partner versed in the Alaska Belay (jumping off the other side of the ridge – and I’m quite certain that, to his credit, Chip has no idea what I’m talking about). No safety net, no guardrail, nothing. An American lawyer’s wet dream.
[Chip Chace exiting the top-station of the Aiguille du Midi. Photo: Kelly Cordes]
[Time for a cappuccino. Sammiches coming right up. Photo: Kelly Cordes]