Aiguille du Midi: A Peak in the Clouds / by Andrew Wilson

My last blog, Geneva: The City of the Lake, featured some of the sights and places we visited during our trip to Geneva. On our last day there we took a day-trip to go up the Aiguille du Midi peak in Chamonix. It turned out to be a memorable and slightly surreal experience.

Thick mist surrounded this peak as we approached Chamonix.

We booked our journey with Key Tours which took us from the centre of Geneva to Chamonix by an hour-long coach journey. The misty highway roads meant, for the most part, we were unable to see much of our surroundings.

There was so much mist that when we began the climb up a bridge to the hills of Chamonix we couldn't see the ground below! It was an eerie sensation.

Eventually we broke through above the mist and suddenly got a feel of the stunning views that were in store for us. 

From left-to-right: Mont Blanc (hidden in cloud), Dome du Gouter (just visible) and Aiguille du Gouter.

Once we arrived in Chamonix (1035m) we saw just how high the peak was (3842m). I've never considered myself afraid of heights but once we got going up in the cable car I found out I wasn't too comfortable with the experience, which I didn't expect. The photo (below) looking up at the peak is from the Plan de l'Aiguille (2317m), the swap-over point of cable cars about halfway up, so you can see it was quite a height!

The Aiguille du Midi peak from the halfway point. The cables that guide the cable car dip before rising up to the peak. 

Plan de l'Aiguille - the transfer point of cable cars halfway to the peak. You are free to wander around and soak up the scenery.

Up, up and away!

So what was it like? One of the first things I noticed was the change in altitude; the Aiguille du Midi peak reaches 3842m, so the simple act of walking quickly up a set of stairs could make you short of breath.

The temperature was -10°C so we wrapped up warm, but it didn't feel as cold as I expected as it was quite dry and calm.

The facility was surprisingly well catered for, with plenty of staff working in the café and the (well-stocked) gift shop. It's one of the most unique places to work I've ever seen. The daily commute is certainly different compared to anyone I know!

As for the views? Well we were a bit unlucky as cloud had moved in, meaning our views were a whitewash. It was a bit of a shame, but it made for a unique and slightly surreal kind of experience which allowed me to capture some stark photos...

Our view of the nearby mountains...not quite what you could see on the plaques or what we'd hoped for!

Looking straight down from the viewing platform.

Looking across at the Central Tower from the North Tower.


An ice cave tunnel leads out to the Glacier du Géant.

Outside the ice tunnel.


Cable car route to Helbronner.


To give you an idea of scale - there are people in the dip to the right of the centre.


The summit area, the very top of the peak.


After several hours at the top we started to make our way back down.

We were now out of the cloud and able to see spectacular views.

Looking out across Chamonix.

The clouds began to clear just in time for the 'Golden Hour'.

The way back down.

One last photo before we leave.

...and that was our experience of Aiguille du Midi. It will be something that stays with me for a lifetime, so I would highly recommend it. It would be great to go up again on a clear day (I still want to know what the views are like from the very top!).

Thanks for looking at my blog and I hope you enjoyed it. Have you been up any of these peaks in Chamonix or any similar experiences? Let me know in the comments below.

For more information about Aiguille du Midi click here.