Words & Photos by Jordan Rogers-Smith - @jrogerssmith
Howdy, my name is Jordan Rogers-Smith. I’m a 20-year-old aspiring photographer/writer/director living and studying film at QCA in Brisbane, Queensland. I have been taken photos since I was little fella, starting out with disposables and mum’s 35mm Pentax.
During June & July of this year I headed off on a 3-week jaunt across Europe, splitting up my time between Switzerland, France and Italy. I’ve never seen so many cheese wheels, Birkenstocks and bottles of sparkling water in my life.
Clean as the Swiss streets may be and as hairy-chested as the Italian waiters were, the highlight of my trip came from France. Here I stayed a few nights in Saint Gervais, a lovely little homely town that looked out to the Alps from just about every café table. It was in this part of France that I took a day trip to the world’s eleventh highest mountain; Mont Blanc (meaning, ‘White Mountain’).
Located on the very edge of the tourist hot-spot town Chamonix, Mont Blanc stands at exactly 15,782ft tall (give or take a few feet depending on the day’s snow dump). Unless you’re fine with climbing up a 4,000-metre incline in waist deep snow or you’re Sylvester Stallone from Cliffhanger, you’re going to want to take the cable car. Heading up and back on that wonderful sky-car will set you back €86,50 for an adult and €73,50 for your younger ones. If you’re feeling like actually earning that ‘Dad of the year’ mug you got for Father’s Day, you can take the whole family for €259,50. Yeah, it’s not super cheap but I would have been kicking myself if I hadn’t gotten to the top for the view.
Despite being snow covered all year round, I was able to head to the top and be comfortable in just a tee shirt, jeans and a beanie. There are various lookout points which, after looking at them all, will have given you a 60 degree view, but just not all at once. The snow-capped jagged edges that litter your surroundings are truly stunning and are complemented by the litany of hikers along their sides, looking like colourful toy soldiers.
There is a great little exhibition in the middle of it all, showcasing all of the hiking, paragliding and skiing that takes place on and around the mountain. It’s part Go-Pro commercial and part personal-fitness demoraliser, but it’s nothing short of impressive. Naturally, there is a gift shop on the way back to the cable car. I mean you can’t spend all that money to get to the top of Mont Blanc and not be tempted to buy a key ring in the shape of a snowflake, right?
On the way down I made sure to stop off at the cable car midpoint to grab a Mars bar and admire the view from a modest little café on the side of the eleventh highest mountain in the world. Hands down the coolest snack spot I’ve been to.
I implore you to get there one day. You can’t replicate the feeling in your lungs of that pure, high altitude air or be satisfied enough by my images not to take yourself and your definitely ever-grateful family* all the way up. If I ever get back to France I’ll surely head back to Mont Blanc, if only to buy that very ok and absolutely overpriced key ring.
*Ever-grateful family not guaranteed, depending on your privilege effects may ware off immediately.
For the dreamer - For the adventurer