Having gotten wounded in Vietnam, I was able to take military hops, out of Dover,N.H., almost any week I wanted. I would fly usually to Spain and connect to England or Germany.
I decided to go to Chamonix, and take a look around. It was 1970, in mid-February, and hardly a time to find a climbing partner. In frustration, I made the dumb decision to climb Mt.Blanc, starting from the valley floor.
I really didn't know the area, but somehow made it to the trailhead, where the easy route started, except in places I was up to my waist in snow. I made it to the Gouter Hut, and found it unlocked.
I slept in the caretakers bed, and struck out next morning for the summit, wearing crampons, as there was this vast sheet of ice in places, and super cold. I made it back to the hut in one piece, and decided to do a little search of the place.
There was a huge selection of liquor in a cabinet, and wooden cask of wine, in a lower basement area.
Since it was getting late, I decided to stay over another day, which turned into a 2 day layover. The next day proved really beautiful, with no wind and bright sun. I decided to sample the wine and hung out on the tin roof, basking in the sun, and with the altitude and all, in a great mood, the day went by.
The next morning I started down, plunging down the slope, when I broke thru a hidden crevasse. I reacted instantly, and since I had quite a bit of forward momentum, I managed to spread eagle my arms and save myself from a permanent tomb.
I remember the blue ice underneath, which looked like it was a hundred feet deep.
The dumb things you do when your young and inexperienced.