Climb up the Aiguille de Tour in the greater Chamonix area. We made our way via the Albert Refuge, The Albert Premier Hut (French: refuge Albert-Ier ), sometimes known as Albert 1er is located on the Haute Route between Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland. It is at 2,702 metres (8,865 ft) above sea level. It is a popular hut with day hikers because of the short hike (2 to 3 hours) and beautiful views, like those into Chamonix Valley. The hut is usually used less by hikers attempting the entire Haute Route, but is popular as a base for climbers attempting the Aiguille du Chardonnet and the Aiguille du Tour.
For some unknown reason, my “friend” and climbing partner took to calling me ‘Fat Bastard’ when I was actually in good shape. I think it was his term of endearment for me. On the hike to the hut, I was going a bit slow – back some 20+ years ago my La Sportiva boots weighed a ton, my Charlet Moser axes and crampons were all steel and weighed too much, and much to the future enjoyment of my partners, I packed a full bottle of Bordeaux, a 1lb tin of foie gras, and a baguette.
Upon much ridicule upon my tarty arrival at the hut, I promptly pulled out my provisions and let them speak for themselves. Needless to say, my partners retreated on their prior teasings, and I shared the fois gras with the refuge chef to put into the group meal for the evening.
The climb to the Index was a blessedly short route, but beautiful once we attained the rock and the views presented themselves. One day I plan to take the Haute Route – winter or summer? Why decide when AND is better than OR!