Returning home to Sweden after my summer vacation in 1973, I was rather
annoyed at having failed twice in my efforts that summer (see previous
section). However, in late September yet another opportunity presented
itself, when I was able to combine a business trip to Paris with a few
days off. I flew from Paris to Geneva and rented a car there.
I then drove the relatively short distance to Chamonix and visited
the Bureau des Guides, intending to launch yet another attack on Mont
Blanc. The weather is often stable and very clear in the autumn in the
Alps. Sometimes the valley is embedded in fog, and it is a great experience
to see the weather clear as you gain altitude during an ascent.
I was therefore disappointed to learn that the season on Mont Blanc
had closed, and that tourists would not be guided there any more that
year. However, it was pointed out to me that there still were many attractive
targets available at lower altitude. They especially recommended Tour
Ronde, a relatively minor peak at less than 3800 m but readily accessible.
It could be climbed in a single day, so I would not have to spend a
night in a mountain hut. Moreover, it was famous for its splendid view
of the surrounding mountains.
I agreed without great enthusiasm and somewhat ungraciously told my
assigned guide (I think his name was Lafontaine) that I was really disappointed
to forgo Mont Blanc. In retrospect I realize that this was a blessing
in disguise, for no matter how fit I was, I doubt that I would have
been able to reach the summit without any acclimatization at all.
I still felt vaguely unsatisfied. I had missed my primary target, I
had not really felt challenged that day, and the unsettled weather had
largely ruined what could have been a magnificent view of the Mont Blanc
massif from up close. - Next year!