Above: The Alps backdrop a morning smoke at Plan de L’Aiguille – 7,800 feet above sea level. I can’t imagine the hell cigarettes play on lungs at such high altitude. A photo I relish for numerous reasons: Magnificent-morning sunrise diffused over many mountain tops, where clouds stream as smoke out of the cigarette. Meanwhile, a bench and sign not only add geometrical designs and useful framing, but indicate frequent human presence.
The total trip comprises two different gondolas and an elevator. The first cable car starts just south of town – roughly 1000 meters – and after 15 minutes arrives at Plan de L’Aiguille, 2,354 meters. Views here are merely a warmup, as are the feelings of vertigo. Continuing on a second tram – the Aiguille du Midi – crosses glaciers and ascends near-verticle rock faces en route to the second viewing platform.