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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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1 entry, paper

45.923697, 6.869433

Sat 4. [4 August 1900] Up at 4 and off at 5.10 for the Aiguille du GÈant.
Strong cold wind and flying cloud which formed on the S side of the
Aiguille and boiled upwards. The wind was from the N. Long snow
slopes till 6.10 which warmed me somewhat. Up broken rocks to the
foot of a pyramid from whence I took a fine view of Mt Blanc rising
above the cloud. Up again broken rocks without a rope till we came
to a small {ridge} slope of snow where we roped. A difficult couloir
where you had to go a cheval on a pointed slab of granite - the whole
rock is very good and can be trusted everywhere. Demarquille and I
left our axes here. Then over a ridge of snow and stopped a little
below the foot of the Aiguille in a sheltered place where I had some
chocolate and water 7.50-8.50. Demarquille was frozen. I gave him
my big woollen gloves. My hands were warmed by the rock work, but
I continued to shiver, though not unpleasantly, almost until we returned
to the foot of the Aiguille. We crossed a bit of snow and turned to the
left under the Aiguille where we found a hanging rope - it was just
about here that a guide was killed a fortnight ago by lightening, after
having accomplished the ascent by a new road up the N face said to
be easier than the old. The first hour or so was quite easy. Straight
up long slabs of rock with a fixed rope to hold by. Then a flank march
which was rather difficult; the rocks from here to the top of the NE
summit are extremely steep. At one point my hands and arms were
so tired that I lost all grip in them. A steep bit down, a pointed breche
and a very steep up rock leads to the highest summit where there is a
cairn. 11.15-11.30. The clouds had left the Aiguille and we had a fine
view of Mt Blanc and Aiguilles rising through cloud, but the Chermoz
Aiguilles were hidden. The Verte and Dru very clear. Coming down
was a good bit easier and less tiring than going up. We got to the foot
of the Aiguille at 12.45. Stayed till 1.30 in warm sun and mist which
rolled up gradually, we eat, I bread and butter and chocolate and
came down onto the clouded glacier from whence we reached the hut
over the easy slopes at 3.10. No one here. Had some tea and slept
for an hour. Dined on soup and chicken at 5. Read Whymper's book.
Cold and mist all round. Decide on an easy day tomorrow as I rather
feel the effects of the first day's gymnastics. Most succesful and
pleasant day, the only drawback being the extreme cold of the

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