Thursday, July 13, 2006

Microsoft team after the hike

Rock face with hikers and carvases at the base

The desired path up, before it visibility when bad

Climbing up the face of the mountain at about 200 feet

Base of Mont Blanc from the Village of Chamonix

Mont Blanc

Who says offsites are about stuffy conference rooms and goofy forced bonding activities. Troy's new team at work decided to turn a business offsite on its ear by taking the whole team to the base of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, in hopes of climbing to the summit.

Well we didn't get to the summit thanks to bad weather, but we did just about everything else. I should have known we were in for a wild offsite when we took one step out of the cable car station onto a 5 foot wide ridge with a several hundred feet drop on each side. With our team of four -including the guide - roped together I led off our exposition into the windy, snowy, yet beautiful Mont Blanc.

Over the next two days, we hiked across the glacier to Italy (about five kilometers) through a sea of carvasses. At times we we sank to our hips in the snow. We also hiked several hundred feet up what seemed like a sheer glacier cliff - all with the guidance of our friendly guide Paulo, who was from just over the border in the skiing village of Monterosso. He said it was the smell of pasta leading us to Italy.

With the possible exception of that forced bonding I talked about - we did sleep 17 co-workers side by side in the same room, all of whom had blatter issues in the middle of the night - we had a great time in and around Mont Blanc and the lovely town of Chamonix.