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Recycle this Gazette Leave it in an airport lounge In the morning we drove 45 minutes to the village of Le Cugnon, southwest of Chamonix, then hiked 830 metres to the Refuge de Tré‑la‑Tête. As a trip leader I have learned to carry many different kinds of foot protection, and once again Leuko tape worked the best to solve vari‑ ous issues. Traversing on a good trail with the occasional rocky sections equipped with rope handrails we gained another 600 metres elevation, the highlight being a long suspension bridge crossing a couloir. At 3 p.m. we reached the large Conscrits hut (2,602 metres) and enjoyed sunshine and an excellent dinner. For €48 (including ACC discount) for lodging and dinner it was our best deal of the trip. Our second day brought real moun‑ taineering with some steep snow climbs and exposed scrambling with crampons. We crossed four summits of the Dômes de Miage (3,673 metres). It was a beautiful ridge, but an afternoon storm approached. Ascending 1,200 metres in 9.5 hours, at 3 p.m. we hit the hut and almost instantly it began raining and hailing. e Durier hut (3,389 metres) was withdrawing from the expedition. Five of us prepared to tackle the Royal Traverse of the Mont Blanc Massif. We reviewed the route and various options depending on weather, ordered meals for our pre‑booked huts, and sorted gear. ankfully, ACC membership granted us discounts at several huts. With two 60‑metre half ropes, a full rock rack, 12 draws, two emergency devices, two GPSs and the usual glacier gear, axes, one technical tool each and lots of clothing, our packs weighed 40 to 50 pounds. by lida frydrychova A fter more than eight months of planning by Joad and me, our group began arriving in Chamonix, France. I had spent a week in the Czech Republic eating delicious food and visiting family. My parents generously lent me their vehicle to drive 13 hours to Switzerland where I picked up Brenden Nielsen. Brenden had already spent a month in Europe travelling and climbing; prior to that he completed an extensive skills course with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures. He'd turn out to be our team rope gun. I'd met Anja Voland and Peter Krohn last year at an Alpine Club of Canada Calgary Section camp. Rick Stack, our speed gun, arrived from Chicago where he trains by climbing skyscraper stair‑ cases. Having climbed in the Rockies several times, he thought joining the Calgary Section could be pretty cool— and it was! Joad, my good friend, speaks French— crucial for planning this trip. While I had previous knowledge of the area and solid mountain skills, Joad researched the trip logistics and together we dreamed up one of the coolest traverses the Alps have to offer. But, ambitious and prepared as always, Joad trained a bit too hard and injured himself running, ending up in the hospital with several stitches on his knee and elbow. e badly swollen and difficult‑to‑bend knee resulted in him Mont Blanc Massif delivers Royal Traverse Brenden Nielsen and Peter Krohn have a moment of fun on the Three Monts traverse. photo: anJa voland Lida Frydrychova and Rick Stack descend the exposed Bionnassay Ridge. photo by anJa voland

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