TMB Day 5: the lady of col de balme and heading up to lac blanc
Day 5 Trient to Lac Blanc 18km, +1500, -800m
September 5th, 2012
Today, we chose to stay higher and away from valley views of the ski towns below at the Refuge Glacier as oppose to staying on the TMB to the Refuge La Flégère.
We took off earlier then anyone this morning with full breakfast bellies and smiles for the adventure ahead. A long day awaited us.
A gradual climb to col du Balme which is located on the French-Swiss border at 2191m. A hut with red shutters sits here and was the first time we realize we were on a ski mountain. A Gondola below with valley views of the town.
An older women in her late 70's runs that hut. We were warned of her reputation at the Col du Balme refuge. We arrived and spoke in our best french that we would like a sandwich. She seemed gravely irritated that she had to make us a sandwich. It was before 11am. But she did. Shortly after, a young Scottish couple arrived. They knew very little french, except jambon and fromage. They asked for a ham and cheese sandwich. She replied in a harsh tone as she walked away "une ou les autres" In other words they can only have what is printed on the board. A cheese sandwich or a ham sandwich but not both. They tried to ask for both again but she said again "une ou les autres"
At this time Andrew doesn't even want to ask to take her photo as I am sure she would not entertain that idea. So unfortunately we don't have a picture of this legendary women of the col du Balme.
We dropped down into Tre-le-Champ stopping at Auberge de Boerne for a bite to eat. It was a quaint place with great food and a relaxing atmosphere. We were hungry and depleted and even entertained the idea of staying here for the night. But, after some food and water we carried on up toward Lac Blanc. Eventually we left the TMB which was headed to the Fleugere refuge and headed on the TPMB trail to our last night in the mountains. Lac Blanc.
On our way up we climbed the ladders chasing a family of chamois and admiring a climber high on a skinny rock over looking Argentiere. Heading to Lac Blanc the fog rolled in and for a moment it seemed like a scene from Lord of the Rings. We were loosing the light as we came across several alpine lakes before finally making it to our home for the night.
This was my favorite refuge. Smaller, simpler and tucked away in the mountains. We shared a room with only 4 others and enjoyed a shared meal of pasta and some kind of meat dish.
Previous : TMB Day 4: Keep Calm and Carry