Mountaineering with famous alpinists. I guess it’s easy to feel the hype and let our imagination go, picturing ourselves like pioneers of yesteryear.
Back on earth, that is not the case, but dreaming is sweet. The Chamonix Mountain Festival offered many opportunities to encounter top athletes and mountain guides, test new materials, explore the surrounding area or, like in our case, go across the border and venture from Punta Helbronner. Mountain Hardwear athlete Vivian Bruchez and mountain guide Seb Foissac were our guides for the day. Photographer Judith Spancken and journalist Cathy Jolibert also accompanied us.
Not disheartened in the least by the foul weather in Chamonix, we made it to La Palud in Italy and up to the top of the cable car.
Snow did not deter us, and it was the perfect opportunity to test our brand new Mountain Hardwear Mixaction Jackets and Sultana Pants (though I tried the Mixaction version), the ultralight but sturdy Summit Rocket™ pack and, to my delight, the marvellously warm Seraction™ gloves. I was not disappointed.
Although technically designed for extreme winter conditions, or ice climbing, these gloves fitted well and kept the cold at bay. I adored them.
The Mixaction pants – made with stretch softshell fabric throughout the legs, allowing for full range of motion and Dry.QTM Elite waterproofing technology in the seat – felt light but warm, as did the jacket, a stretchable softshell with strategic hardshell protection.
We crossed the Geant glacier and went over a small arête, which was good fun.
We could have certainly done more, had the sun shone all day, but we also learnt that, in the mountains, you sometimes have to make do with what is at hand. In our case, lots of smiles and a drink at the end of the day. Plus, of course, not a single dissatisfied face.
Enjoy the ride, whatever you do.
More on Vivian Bruchez
More on Sebastian Foissac
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