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Climbing Aiguille du Tour: Father and son bonding time

Tomas Ichaso November 21, 2016

The mountains are a great environment to rediscover and deepen relationships, such as father and son. Guided by Julia, four Belgian parents took each, one of their kids to ascend Aiguille du Tour (3540m), in the Mont Blanc range. The efforts, the views, and the quality time and emotions shared made them go back with a renewed bond, strengthened during those days in the Alps. And for many of them, it was their first mountaineering adventure, so they also returned with the desire to go again to the mountains, and repeat the experience.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour
2 fathers and their son enjoying the sunrise during their ascent of Aiguille du Tour

This trip will be unforgettable and I hope I can do this again in the future’, said William, one of the four kids, after the trip. He was one of the participants who had their first mountaineering experience at Aiguille du Tour, and was amazed with the solidarity shown between sons and dads during the ascent. According to him, that is what allowed them all to reach Aiguille du Tour’s summit.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour

Paul was the one who had the idea of the trip. Experienced mountain lover, he wanted to share this passion with his son. So he checked through Explore-Share, and contacted Julia, an aspirant IFMGA mountain guide based in Chamonix. Together, they decided to do a 3-day mountaineering trip in the Mont Blanc range, suitable for 16 years old kids, with no previous mountaineering experience.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour
Glacier walk to the summit of Aiguille du Tour

According to Paul, climbing Aiguille du Tour was the perfect choice: ‘It included hiking on a mountain trail, up to the refuge, then a walk on a glacier with crampons, and some rock climbing when reaching the summit. It was not too long; the refuge is new and comfortable… perfect for a first and good experience’. And he was thrilled to see how the climb gave the boys the opportunity to relate among them, and with their fathers, in a different environment than daily life.  The situation showed them also the importance of taking responsibility for themselves and for others, a symptom of becoming adults. Of course the guides helped them, but they had to take care of their equipment, backpacks, carry their load, and behave correctly in the mountains.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour
Paul and his son spending quality time together on their way to Albert 1er mountain hut

The other fathers agreed with Paul. They also considered the trip a very good opportunity to get back to the basics, and discover new things. Moreover, they enjoyed to have their mind very far while being close from home and daily life. And for those who hadn’t previous experience, the ascent allowed them to notice that there are a lot of things accessible in the mountains and that not everything is as extreme as it may look.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour
Ice axe and crampons’ exercises next to Refuge Albert 1er on Day 2.

The program was the following: On Day 1, they did a hiking tour above Chamonix. This allowed Julia to check the level and mood of the participants and for the participants to have a nice and easy introduction to mountaineering. That day, Julia also checked the equipment of everybody and presented the planning of the coming days. On Day 2, they hiked up to the Albert 1er mountain hut. And on Day 3, they did the ascent of Aiguille du Tour starting at 4 AM, and after summiting, they hiked down to Chamonix. Day 4 was to return to Belgium.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour
JB (IFMGA mountain guide) and 4 members of the team hiking down the glacier

Paul was very pleased with the guiding service of Julia and JB, an IFMGA mountain guide who joined her:  ‘They were excellent because they took a lot of time to explain what we were doing and coaching each of us. You could feel they were really looking to transmit things, their passion, putting the right ingredients allowing the participants to share a great time together. But they were also tough and strict when it was necessary, like when we arrived on the glacier’.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour

Augustin, one of the kids, agreed: ‘The guides were awesome’. It was his first mountaineering experience, so he was pleased the trip was adapted for everyone’s level: ‘It was a wonderful experience and great to live such an adventure with my dad’. William was impressed by the sunrise over the Alps, and the possibility of seeing some of its most famous peaks. And Jules, another of the boys, didn’t hesitate to say: ‘If I had the opportunity to do these kinds of experiences again, I would for sure sign for them”.

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour

According to Paul, ‘Father & son unique moments in daily dynamic family life is sometimes a challenge. This one to one window in the year creates a great opportunity to build that important relationship in their adolescent life where our role has a father changes.

The activity reinforces team spirit while enjoying a wonderful environment. It also shows each other different aspects of personality that might be hidden in day to day life.

So we at Explore-Share are happy to help people to live these kind of experiences, which also shows that mountaineering is not only for top athletes, but also accessible to beginners, families with kids, and anyone willing to discover the amazing world in the mountains.

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Mountaineering in France?

Father and Son Aiguille du Tour
The team celebrating on the summit of Aiguille du Tour at 3540m high

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