I finished off a busy ski touring season living in Zermatt in 2005 with a climb up Mont Blanc, via the Grands Mullets route, with a friend from Chamonix named Nuno.
Nuno is one of the most physically fit people I know. Even though I was what I considered very fit and well acclimmatized myself, having skied literally a dozen 4000m peaks in the previous two months, he absolutely dusted me up to the summit. We passed each other on the Bossons Arete, him on the way down, me puffing my way up. "Are you ok Brian?" he asks through cold piercing wind "I'm sorry to launch ahead but I was getting cold. I'll meet you in the Vallot Refuge." A couple hours later I found him there fast asleep, enjoying an afternoon snooze up at 4500m. The next day he went climbing. The guy is a maniac.
Anyway as I remember an hour or so out of the Grands Mullet refuge we crested a steep bit and the views of Mont Blanc opened up just as the first rays of the rising sun began to hit them. The formation here is actually the Mur de la Cote step along the ridge between Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc summit. The distinctive lenticular cloud that makes the shot is a sure sign of high winds, and indeed at the summit we were, literally, "blown away."
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