That's us making our way through a boulder field. We spent lots of time on the trail in the company of Michael Cartright, who is also good people.
At the top of Passo Alto, we gaped at our stunning surroundings, did a little happy dance and took off downhill for another 800 meter descent. From there we tagged the Rifigio Promoud, ate more cheese and bread and started climbing again. The trail pointed skyward, as the last light of the day faded behind the mountain.
When we hit what we thought was the top, we were greeted with a steep scramble, some serious wind and plummeting temperatures. I dug out my puffy insulating jacket, my toque and my shell and pulled them all in as quick as possible. The scramble was a little bonkers, complete with ropes and ladders and we just kept moving, upward, onward, upward and onward. When we finally crested the last pass of the day at 7:30 in the evening, we were giddy, awestruck and blown away with what we had just completed. We were also thinking of the scope of the task at hand. I looked at Angela and giggled, "That was the hardest day I've had in the mountains, ever." We were 1 day and 3 passes in to our race and we had already climbed 3,200m or 10,500ft.
This was the view from the top, after that, we descended all the way down to the valley visible from this photo and back to civilization. We enjoyed another 20 minutes of daylight, before we had to dig out our headlamps. It took us over 3 hours to arrive at the lifebase in Valgrisenche, in the dark, tired, hungry, but happy. I commented that "If my race was over right now, I'd be O.K with that." I had already seen more stunning scenery than humanly possible, conquered 3 passes and felt like I had the adventure of a life time in a day.
At the life base, we got ourself a hot meal, a shower (side by side with 2 french men) and a bed. We organized our gear before trying to sleep and turned off the light at 12:00. Turns out there wasn't much sleeping to be done. With all of the racers being on different schedules, there was always someone coming or going. Doors slamming, zippers pulling, whispering and people making preparations before departing. Eventually, I rolled out of bed at 4:30 because there wasn't any sleep to be found. I had slept maybe an hour or two at best. Angela and I had some breakfast and headed out in the dark to embrace Day 2.