ARC'TERYX ALPINE ACADEMY: DAY TWO

Day two of the Arc'teryx Alpine Academy is in the books, and for those that survived yesterday's torrential weather, Friday afternoon's break from the elements provided everyone in attendance constant reminders of why Chamonix is an epicenter of alpinism and one of the most awe-inspiring locales on the planet.

Friday was centered around acclimatization and gaining familiarity with techniques that will allow participants to progress their skills throughout the weekend. Photographer Hugo Vincent was gracious enough to provide some insight into his day following the crew on the Mer de Glace:

Today was a great day. It started without any visibility and heavy rain, and I was afraid I would spend another day out in the mountains, cold and soaked, stressing for my photo gear. But quickly the clouds opened, and during the next hours the sun and the surrounding peaks played hide and seek, revealing the classic, huge and wonderful Chamonix granite towers and their rock & mixed climbing lines, dusted by fresh snow.

The group I joined - going for an initiation to the basics of alpinism - was great fun. Some had little experience while others had never previously worn crampons or stepped on ice, but all were doing really well and were eager to learn and share. It was also great to spend some time with my friend Paul and our BMG guide Kenny, two very inspiring & motivating guys.

The sad part of the day was to realize how much the Mer de Glace has changed from the last time I visited during last year's Academy. Last summer in the Alps was very hot and dry, and the mountains paid a very heavy price. The glacier has changed considerably, lost a substantial amount of ice, and the moraines are collapsing, with almost constant rock falls: these are dangerous for the climbers, destroy the access to huts and climbs, but most importantly, by darkening the surface of the glacier, they increase ice melting. Mountains are unique in many ways, and they're also unique in showing the effects of climate change. Making you realize that we really need to act before it's too late.

Check out our Flickr Gallery for a full photo recap, and don't forget to tag your photos on Instagram and Twitter with #arcteryxacademy.

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Hugo Vincent

Photo: Jacob Slot

Photo: Jacob Slot

Photo: Jacob Slot

Source: Arc'teryx Blog