Phil's Hiking Resources

Mer de Glace – Chamonix – June 2014

Day 1: We took the Montenvers train from Chamonix up to the Mer de Glace for a bit of crevasse rescue practice and gentle acclimatisation in advance of doing anything more serious.

Mer de Glace

Mer de Glace – playing in crevasses

Mer de Glace

Mer de Glace – “dry” glacier

The infamous Mer de Glace ladders turned out to be great fun. We used basic “cow tails” to clip on for extra security and confidence.

Mer de Glace LaddersMore Mer de Glace Ladderseven more mer de glass laddersComing back up the Mer de Glace Ladders

Apparently, Mer de Glace translates as “Sea of Ice” and not “shit ice-cream” (which is Merde glace) as I had initially suspected due to my poor French. It is also not named for the amazing amount of broken glass that is scattered along the entire length of its surface either.

You can hire a local Guide for this sort of training from the local Guides office.

Read more about other days on this trip…



Author: Phil Newby

2 responses to “Mer de Glace – Chamonix – June 2014”

  1. Steve says:

    Clipping in as it were seems to make the process of getting to the glacier much longer. Is there really any benefit in doing this? If there are no climber above then one should be confident enough just get on with it?

    Its just an observation.

  2. Phil Newby says:

    Hi Steve
    Yes clipping in does take a little longer, but not much if you are efficient.
    These ladders are pretty busy all the time so there is almost no time when there won’t be someone above you somewhere, who may accidentally drop a rock on your head.
    Even then the continuous level of exposure is sufficiently exciting that the confidence provided by the clip is welcome to me at least – but i’m a better safe than sorry kind of person.


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Author: Phil Newby