The alarm went off at 4:30am this morning and I enthusiastically got out of bed. There was a mountain to climb before my flight tonight! I came downstairs to find breakfast laid out for us, including freshly brewed tea and coffee. Thanks Nicole !!
It was a long, windy drive to St Martin. Past small villages and even a gorge. At 7:35am we were off, with clear skies, the sun rising behind our mountain range and cows grazing on the path. The target was Mt Gelas – finally i would break the 3000m line on this European trip after many an attempt.
We had the whole place to ourselves, and I couldn’t help but smile at all the rugged beauty around us.
As we crossed to the north face and prepared for the final ascent we were greeted with a rare wonder – a whole family of Capra (Alpine) Ibex. And soooo close to us. We spent a long time admiring all 13 of them before Alain and I set out for the summit. Time was starting to get away from us.
The final ascent is along the north ridge on the western side. The further up we went the less we hiked and the more we scrambled as the ridge became thin, steep and exposed. We were trying to move as quickly as possible but safely as well. We were in our element! Sadly, able to see the summit about 50 vertical metres above, we called it quits and started a careful descent back down …. sadly i had a plane to catch and there just wasn’t enough time ….
I’ll be back Mt Gelas. But today’s true wonder was definitely seeing those ibex!!!
Thank you sooooo much to my wonderful hosts for this exciting 4-day program!!!!!