Aiguille du Midi
The Aiguille du Midi(3,842 m) is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps.
The name "Aiguille du Midi"translates literally as "Needle of the South". In the brochure for its cable car the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc asserts it gets its name from the fact that it is to the south when viewed from in front of the church in Chamonix. Unfortunately they omitted to specify which church in Chamonix is the reference point. (Midi also means "Noon")
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'Aiguilleat 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 €46 return, with the lift to the summit costing another €3.
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 Aiguilleanother 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).