Aiguille du Midi
|Aiguille du Midi|
The Aiguille du Midi in summer
|Elevation||3,842 m (12,605 ft)|
|Prominence||310 m (1,017 ft)|
|Translation||Needle of the Noon
Needle of the South (French)
|Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France|
|Range||Mont Blanc Massif|
|First ascent||4 August 1818 by Antoni Malczewski, J. M. Balmat and 5 guides|
The name "Aiguille du Midi" translates literally as "Needle of the Middle." In French culture, the word "Midi," is loosely used to represent midday Noon. It is also used to name the southern part of France, "le Midi." It gets its name from its tapered form and from its position when viewed from Chamonix: it approximately indicates noon when the sun passes over its summit.
The cable car to the summit, the Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi, was built in 1955 and held the title of the world's highest cable car for about two decades. It still holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 m to 3842 m. There are two sections: from Chamonix to Plan de l'Aiguille at 2,317 m and then directly, without any support pillar, to the upper station at 3,777 m (the building contains an elevator to the summit). The span of the second section is 2,867 m (1.781 mi) measured directly, but only 2,500 m (1.6 mi) measured horizontally. Thus it remains the second longest span width, measured directly. The tramway travels from Chamonix to the top of the Aiguille du Midi – an altitude gain of over 2,800 m – in 20 minutes. An adult ticket from Chamonix (as of 9/5/2012 to 30/11/2012) is €50 return.
The Aiguille summit contains a panoramic viewing platform, a café and a gift shop. The Vallée Blanche ski run begins here, and the nearby Cosmiques Refuge is the starting point for one of the routes to the Mont Blanc summit. From the Aiguille another cable car (summer months only), the Vallee Blanche Aerial Tramway crosses the Glacier du Géant to Pointe Helbronner (3,462 m) at the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. Pointe Helbronner is served with a cable car from La Palud, a village near Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley (Italy).
In December 2013, a glass skywalk called "Step into the Void" opened at the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak (3842 meters high). The view is 1035 meters straight down, and one can see Mont Blanc to the south.
- Swisstopo map
- "Brochure Aiguille du Midi and Train Montenvers summer 2012". Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Will Coldwell,Step into the Void: the glass skywalk at the top of the French Alps – in pictures, The Guardian, 19 December 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aiguille du Midi.|
- Website telepherique Aiguille du Midi
- Panoramic virtual tour from top of Aiguille du Midi
- (Photos) Photojournal from short stay at the top station of Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi