Pictures from the Voyage to the Alps 1997

by Aapo Puhakka

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Packing the car at Otaniemi.

Tomi is reading a map at night. I'll guess that was somewhere in Germany.

Scenery from Italy.That was taken in Cervinia, the Italian side of Matterhorn.

This was ment to be last picture of Samu Kaseva. (not really :-) ) It was taken just before his - some might say - reckless solo attempt to the Mont Blanc. Conditions were very severe, there were a lot of snow on the top. Nobody had ascended the Blanc for several weeks. Nor did Samu; but he survived, although he burnt his face very badly and spent the rest time at our camping place at Chamonix. He used no sun cream, because it was cloudy and he didn't see the sun.

Tomi is feeling good in our one-day trekking-trip near Chamonix.

Aiguille du Midi surrounded by clouds. Picture taken from our one-day trekking-trip.

Crossing a little river.On the first day of our ascent to the Mont Blanc. We walked all the way from the valley. Telepheriques are for losers and turists. ;-)
It was raining all the day, but weather forecasts told that good weather will be coming after a few days and we decided to try, despite the rain.

A railroad-tunnel before Gare. From the left: Markku, Matti, Tomi, I. As you see, there was a lot of snow; it began somewhere at 2200 m. But that was just nice. Rain turned to sleet and then to snow.

I and Markku are building our camp at Tete Rousse. We spent a day at the Tete Rousse. We waited for better weather and acclimatization. We hoped that the sun will melt the snow on the day and froze it on the night, making walking easy on the ice-cover. Well, it did.

Another picture from our Tete camp. Vesa joined us there. Six people in two two-person tents is like an optimal solution: No extra tents to carry and it's warm.

Some beautiful scenery from Tete Rousse. I suppose this was taken on the way down. ('Cause the weather is so nice.)

This is the Gouter Ascent.This is the toughest point in the basic Mont Blanc route in my opinion. 600 m direct climbing upwards from Tete Rousse to the Refuge de l'Aiguille du Gouter. It's not difficult but long and scary sometimes to a novice mountaineer, especially just after the Grand Couloir. Notice the avalanche-tracks over the route on the picture. Avalanches were guaranteed on afternoons, especially on the Grand Couloir.

A picture from the Gouter Ascent.

Another picture from the Gouter Ascent.

I'm at the Refuge de l'Aiguille du Gouter. An headache is almost guaranteed a pair of hours after reaching the refugee. Everyone of us got it, although we were well-acclimatized: we had spent a week at Chamonix (1000 m) and two nights at the mountain (at ~2770 m & ~3180).

Ascending the Dome du Gouter After eating a meal at the refugee we decided to continue to the Valley Hut. Some people had gone already and the snow wasn't that bad. But the wind was. And ascending was tough on the thin air and after climbing Gouter Ascent. I had to take a pause almost after every step. But I made it. Markku and Tomi didn't, they were too tired, had too much headache, too little will left and too hurry to back to Finland: they were forced to turn back. In the picture we are changing our group stuff: One tent for the two and one for four.

A picture of the Blanc from the Dome. Because we had only one tent for four, Antti had to sleep at the Valley Hut, which was quite full of people.

Our camp at the Valley Hut. It was under the hut in the valley. I had had headache in the previous day and at night, but in the morning it had gone. I was feeling very good and refreshed.

An unknown climber. This picture was taken from our tent's window. Those who started early in the morning from the Refuge de l'Aiguille du Gouter walked just next to our tent.

The line of mountaineers at the last phase of the ascent of the Mount Blanc. The summit-day was almost first nice day in weeks. So, in the same day nearly hundred others reached the top.

Just before the summit of the Mount Blanc, the top of Europe.

Summit-picture.From the left: Matti, I, Vesa

Another summit-picture.From the left: I, Matti, Antti

Antti and some beautiful scenery from the top.

Two unknown mountaineers and some beautiful scenery from the top.

Looking down from the Blanc.It was really fun (although dangerous) to glide from the Blanc. We had no skies but our bottoms. There is a helicopter in the middle of picture. There were a lot of copters flying around in the vicinity. They even brought a rescue team to the Refuge de l'Aiguille du Gouter, but I don't know why.

A final glimpse back to the Blanc.

Our Saab-99 at a camping place at the Dolomites, North-East Italy.

A pillar I and Samu attempted to ascent at the Dolomites. (From the other side). But a hail-shower surprised us in the middle and we were forced to turn back.

Some beautiful scenery from the Dolomites.

Persons mentioned above:

Others who were also on the voyage:

Pictures above were taken by Antti Heinilä and Vesa Kautto.

Aapo Puhakka