A report on climbing near Chamonix has this quote:
“We’d finish our cappuccinos and leave at the civilized hour of 10 a.m. or so, climb a four-to-six-pitch route, and be back down sipping wine and eating cheese at an outdoor café by 3 p.m. Quite civilized, indeed.”
(Now of course, you can sip a cappuccino at Red Wing or Taylors Falls at 10AM, climb 4 to 6 climbs and be back eating a cheeseburger and sipping a beer by noon, if you wanted. [Plain cheese and wine are a little harder to come by.] So I don’t see what’s so great about the Alps.)
The author also wonders why there are more people who climb and hike in the mountains in that area than there are in the mountain areas of the U.S. Is it ease of access? History of climbing? Time off work? Fewer TV channels?
“But I do know this: while I love the solitude of climbing back home, I love the access here in Chamonix where, tomorrow morning, just like yesterday, a quick lift will take me nearly 10,000 feet up and onto a glacier into the heart of the Alps.”
(I was in Chamonix twice and if you don’t like unbelievable mountain scenery, glaciated peaks, great climbing, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, or wonderful food, there is no reason to go there. Plus parapenting.) Here’s a tour of downtown Chamonix by bike. At the end of the video, he takes the téléphérique up the mountain and you can see Mt Blanc in the background.