But this morning, he really guaranteed it would happen. I'd had a good night's sleep and looked out of the curtains and for sure I said 'Oh my god!'. It was stunning, crystal clear and deep blue skies against the snowy peaks which towered above the town.
I got packed quickly, leaving a bit of stuff (including the costume), because I was pretty eager for breakfast.
Went upstairs to find everyone having a pretty impressive looking breakfast, and in the dining room was a huge window, so whilst we sat and ate croissants we were all in awe of the peaks ahead. What a way to start a trip! We saw Mont Blanc nestling in between Mont Maudit and the Dome du Gouter. There she was. What I'd been waiting to see! It looked intimidating, yet beautiful. In 5 days I would hopefully be atop the summit. I was awe inspired. Rich and Graham hadn't actually turned up until the night before so I only met them at breakfast. It was now that I spoke to Greg and Phil over coffee and cereal that they'd climbed Mont Blanc over 150 times between them, so I'd be in good hands.
We checked kit and then got in two minibuses and drove to Le Tour which took 30 minutes or so up a scenic valley. Roger forgot his harness so his bus turned back whilst we waited at Le Tour, admiring the Le Tour glacier above, glistening in the sun. Awesome.
Then we got our ice axes out too and joined in the fun. We had to practice the same manoeuvres but with the use of the axe. I was pretty surprised at how easy they were, and they gripped the snow like cement. Phil made us traverse across a ledge of fairly steep ice, with a pond of blue, ice-cold water and about 2 metres deep, directly below us. It was unroped so it forced us to focus on what we were doing. This was all in gorgeous sunshine and awesome views of Aig du Chardonnet ahead. Then we were led round the 'pond' and one by one tied into a top-rope where we ice climbed the slope, front pointing and really smacking the axe. That really was good fun, pretty straightforward and after I abseiled back down the 25 foot slope I got the camera and got some great pics of everyone else. I was getting weary and as the time flew we got the crampons off and walked back to the hut. We passed an impressively intimidating crevasse, keeping well clear, so deep that you couldn't even see the bottom.