Aug 27, 2013

Feel-good endorphins reactivated after a weekend in Chamonix

There's nothing like heading out into the great outdoors to awaken the senses. After even just a few minutes outside the grass just seems greener, the sun seems brighter, and somehow challenges which seemed gargantuan before now seem so much more manageable... 

Anyone who has gone for a run around Hyde Park, a climb up Ben Nevis or enjoyed the snowy slopes of Whistler or Chamonix would certainly be able to relate to the (not surprising) findings from a recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, conducted by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry which found that exercise in natural environments was linked to greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement. Levels of tension, confusion, anger and depression were found to be lowered by exercising outside.

I was feeling the 'need' for some of these feel-good endorphins at the start of last week so immediately gave my good friend and Chamonix-based guide Isabelle Santoire a call to see if she could squeeze me in for some 'fresh air therapy'. 

Needless to say, Isa delivered and the weather did as well - despite arriving in Chamonix to an orchestra of torrential rain, thunder and lightening show which would have made Danny Boyle sit up and take notes... 

The forecast remained bleak so we decided for a straight forward walk up to the Charles 1er hut on La Tour to see how the weather would pan out. Our plan was to do some scrambling on ridges near the hut and then climb the Aiguille du Tour - a nice easy and straightforward climb (plod!). 

I'm not sure if it was the good karma generated by helping with the dishes that night in the busy hut or whether we just had some good ol'fashioned luck as we were greeted by clear, starry, moonlit skies at 4.30am as we set out for the summit. The conditions were exquisite - crunchy snow, mild temperatures and not a soul to be seen. I was reminded with each step why I love the balancing-feeling of being outside, in the hills, doing something I love.

Feel-good endorphins clearly reactivated!!

Happy that the sun is finally beginning to appear 
Doing dishes in the kitchen at the Charles 1er hut
Isa and our AMAZING Argentinian kitchen staff!

Hot tea after a wet walk up to the hut
Stellar climbing conditions


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