In the higher mountains

July 2008, totally unsuspected, I got an aortic dissection type A (from the bicusp (abnormal) aortic valve to the bifurcation of the aorta). The survival rate is rather low, but I was very lucky in reaching the hospital in time. I’ m happy to live now with an artificial valve.
After two months in the hospital (Medical Centre Free University Amsterdam) they asked me at the intake for rehabilitation what my objectives were. I said bluntly that I wanted to do hikes in the higher mountains again. The reaction was: “could be possible”, an answer I did not expect.
I trained hard, but during the first years I had some circulatory problems in my legs, but there was always progression, albeit slowly.

This year, 5 years after the incident, I felt strong enough to try and realize the original objective. Off my wife and I went on holidays to Chamonix in order to walk in the Mont Blanc region. And walking we did. From single day tours, to hikes of four days from hut to hut; between 1000 and 3000 m. The weather was beautiful, not too hot. Walking was somewhat slower than in the past, but hey, we are not so young anymore; I guess that an hours walk takes us now an extra quarter of an hour. Because one hut was full we even had one day of 11 hours of walking, 500 m up, 1200 m down.
For the two of us these were terrific days.

Vallorcine-Col de Balme - Croix de Fer - l’Arolette-Tête de Balme - under Aguillette de Posettes - Col des Montets

Brévent - Col du Brévent-Refuge Moëde d’Anterne; higher route to Col de Salenton - Refuge Pierre à Bérard (complet) - Le Buet; Lac Blanc - La Flégère; La Floria - Chamonix.

Courmayeur - Rifugio La Maison Vieille; by L’arp Vieille-Rifugio Elena Soldini; Peuterey - Courmayeur.