Today I was feeling good! After a good nights sleep our bivouac gear was checked and we went up to the Aiguille du Midi once again stepping out onto the descent ridge with confidence. Its a bit exposed if you look down the steep slopes either side, but for some reason I could manage this easily.
We were soon crossing the plateau and on the ascent of Mont Blanc du Tacul. There were quite a few others with the same intention but everyone moved steadily.
We were paused when a snowboarder took a fall in a dangerous place but with a satisfactory outcome.
The trek was fantastic - luscious scenery. We stopped for lunch. Two of our group had struggled during the morning and decided to go down with one of the guides. They would later stop to build their own snowhole but were subsequently taken off by helicopter because the wind was fierce and that was their best option.
The rest of us trekked on, there were 6 delegates remaining with three guides. The crux of the route is the climb onto the Mont Maudit ridge , and frankly I was nervous about it after the exposure on the previous day.
The guides top-roped us and I clambered up - not without a bit of trauma - and with a great deal of satisfaction when I got to the top. The descent the next day would be by abseil - which was a lot more comfortable.
From the Mont Maudit ridge the route drops down slightly at an easy gradient to the Col de Brenva. When we arrived the snowhole was well underway and so I simply helped out as best I could but I felt like a spare part - all the jobs were being done!
Stefan cooked simple grub for us all.
A reminder of just where we were came when two climbers came down from the summit at about 7pm, heading for the Cosmique Hut - they thought it was really close but our guides estimated they were 8 or 9 hours away at their present speed. They were shocked and were totally unprepared for a night on the mountain.
Our guides persuaded them that their only option was a helicopter uplift - and they called it in - we watched mesmerised as the pickup was made.