In 2017 the Brittish outdoor brand Berghaus hosted a competition during the Belgian tour of the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Belgium and Luxemburg. Contestants had to answer a number of questions and guess how light a certain jacket was to be able to win a Weekend Alpine Adventure in Chamonix. Two girls and two guys were selected from all these contestants and with Berghaus Guide Pierre Dewit, had the most amazing time in and around Chamonix.
After working on the “Hyper 100 Adventure Review” project earlier that year, we were asked by Berghaus to make two-part video of this amazing weekend.
We had two days of shooting, where we followed the little expedition group over the Mer de Glace on the first and the Glacier du Géant on the second day. The weather circumstances couldn’t have been more different.
It didn’t seem that way on Friday, preceding out two days of filming the group. The weather was light and fine and strolling down the main street of Chamonix, arguably the outdoor capital of the world, where winter and summer snow and mountain sports combine in a stately ambience of French quality, I could feel the apprehension deep in my stomach. From the town, you can see the Mer de Glace glacier streaming down the mountain. Outdoor shop and rentals display the best gear you can find, and when we stepped into the cute red train that would take us up to the to the Montenvers station and the Mer de Glace…let’s just say it’s those moments you know you have come home.
We went down to the glacier that day, to do a bit of scouting, but what really rattled me as we walked down the footpath to the glacier’s edge, were the little signs that indicated how high the glacier had been, 5, 10, 50, a 100 years ago. The rate at which the glacier has diminished is really astounding and disconcerting. Walking inside the glacier, seeing the ice melt, seeing the glacier weep for itself (please excuse my poeticism), it made me sad.
The next day it was as if that sadness had converted itself to an all-out depression. Back with the same train, but the views on the Drus and the Grands Jorasses across the valley and the glacier itself were obscured by thick and heavy clouds. Soon we were walking through pouring rain, struggling over slippery rocks with low grey light. Strong winds blew along the valley and chilled us to the bone. Our guide Pierre changed plans, where a hike over the glacier had been the plan, we soon shifted our focus and ascended from the valley along the Via Ferrata back to the Refuge du Montenvers. After more than an hour on slippery and cold mountain face, rain and winds buffeting us, socks were wrung out and hands warmed before taking the train back down.
Day 2 couldn’t have been different. Arriving on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc the day promised and delivered bluebird skies, cold alpine winds, crisp white snowfields, crevasses and hard light from the sun. The goal was to make an ascent of the Aiguille de Midi, but this day as well, taught us that, as Pierre said: “The mountain decides.” In this case, the Glacier du Géant had moved and cracked and presented us with a crevasse, too wide to cross, right at the foot of the top we were pushing for. After a short moment of disappointment, we turned around and headed back to the Punta Helbronner where we would take the SkyWay Monte Bianco back down. And with every step felt our disappointment disappear in the majestic views of the mountains around the Glacier du Géant.
And back in the SkyWay Monte Bianco gondola, our days together were celebrated with a special “All you need is love” moment. If you want to know what that means you really have to watch the video!
All in all three wonderful days where we could combine our love for outdoors, our appreciation for great gear and filming in the most majestic scenery you can imagine. And that with a wonderful group of people!