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Chamonix 6A • July 7-July 29, 2023

Perfect Ending in Paris

July 29, 2023


After exploring the remote Pyrenees, sandy Spanish beaches, and grand Swiss alps, it was time to go back to civilization and hit the ground running once more. This time, instead of rocky trails and icy rivers, we took on cobblestone streets and warm rainstorms as we began to explore the city of love.

Our journey to Paris started off a bit rocky. After a bus delay in our most favorite city ever, Lourdes, we watched in disbelief from the windows of our bus as our Paris train sped out from the station. Regardless of this setback, the group stayed positive and chilled by the tracks listening to tracks like Lizzo and the Barbie movie soundtrack. With an impromptu Book Club, the group got some much-needed downtime and Hill even managed to finish his 500-page book in less than 12 hours from when he started. We eventually made it to Paris a mere 11 hours later and the group was just stoked to be there! They dropped their packs, changed their boots, and were ready to head out the door within minutes of our arrival.

That night we enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner at a restaurant next door to the hostel. We had Moonup under the stars and stayed up dreaming and chatting about the city we would soon explore.

Everyone knows that Paris is one of the most famous cities for the arts: Film, Music, Dance, and Fashion are key aspects of the city’s culture.

Given our late arrival and city showers on the first night, Hunter H. suggested that the group watch a short Parisian-esque film together that night. With undertones of self-empowerment and the importance of feeling emotions, mixed with humor, satire, and colorful settings, the film sparked insightful conversation and was talked about for days to come.

The next day, woken up to their favorite wake-up song “Good Morning,” the group arose early (as per their request) so they could fit in as many activities as possible. First stop of the morning had to be coffee, so the caffeine-addicts of the group enjoyed a Parisian latte on a quiet street. A bit down the road, we ventured to a small Creperie where we gobbled down giant crepes filled with anything we could dream of from ham, cheese, and eggs to Nutella, banana, and strawberries. Safe to say we started off Paris full, fueled, and fabulous!

The group took this in stride and danced, sang, and shopped their way through Paris. Past Shakespeare’s bookstore and en route to the Notre Dame, the group had an impromptu dance party, led by the bussin’ moves of Sims, and sang Viva La Vida to the sound of a street performer’s piano, led by the harmonic vocals of Hunter P.. We read and learned more about the tragic fire at the Notre Dame and were in shock when we learned it would take more than 100 years to restore.

We made our way to the Louvre and our jaws dropped when we saw the line of people wrapping around the perimeter of the inside square. The loads of people did not stop the group from expressing their creativity and energy through dance. Led by Elizabeth, in a V-formation all 11 of the kids performed a small flash mob to the tune of a camp rock classic. While marching and cheering, Anna’s cheer moves shined through and had the whole crowd (Ali, Duke, and a small German family of 3) in awe.

Finally was Fashion. The group was eager to shop till they dropped. We knew we had to take them to the Mecca of fashion: Galerie Lafayette. The girls and boys split up as Duke took the boys to find their white linen button-downs and casual golf Tees to fit in with the Parisian peeps. The boys had a blast trying on the most expensive watches and sunglasses the shopkeepers would allow. After stumbling upon a more reasonably priced jewelry store, Jack, Sims, and Hill picked up pieces for the lucky ladies in their lives, while Ali led the girls through a maze of 6 floors full of tulle, sparkles, and shiny things. Emma was the first to find a gold mine, with her and Anna spotting a pair of unique sneakers that would be the perfect pair for each of their senior years. After the time warp that was that department store, the group headed out for some fresh air and a bite to eat. We found a delectable local spot right by the Opera house that featured the locals’ favorite of steak frites and homemade tea and lemonade.

After that the boys went back to the hostel to drop off their gifts and goodies, discovering embassy row as they strolled the afternoon downpour. The girls powered through and ran through the pelting rain for one last shopping stop at a famous vintage store. The time warp seemed to continue when we walked through the doors as it was like walking into a mom’s closet in the 70s. Following Palmer’s lead, we all tried on neon bomber jackets and cheetah print head scarves with crazy sunglasses and funky hats. To the bumping American music in the store, we galivanted around like it was our runway laughing over how silly we looked and imagining life back in the time of our outfits.

The group finally decided that they had indeed “dropped” from all the shopping and so we ventured over to the Arch de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, and the 2024 Olympic torch. Hill shared stories from his last visit to Paris and going up the tower while Sims and Duke took selfies in front of it. After navigating the streets without a phone or GPS, we successfully found our restaurant for the night: a beautiful Italian cafe with pastel green velvet plush seats with pink wallpaper and a loop of Sia songs on the speakers. Full to the brim with pasta and pizza we had to finish off our European adventure with one last gelato that was pressed in the shape of a flower on top of our cones!

We ate our ice cream as we went to the Eiffel Tower to get one last view of the incredible masterpiece. With photo shoots and people-watching, we passed the time as we waited for the hour to strike and the tower to sparkle. But right before the clock struck, we realized we were missing one thing to complete our Parisian adventure: a Beret. Shepard and Hunter ran ahead and snagged a blue and a pink one to complement their fits. On the way back, in a sprint to see the tower sparkle (and to win a race), Margaret took quite a tumble and had the lawn of people staring while she recovered gracefully from her fall.

Under the golden light of the Eiffel Tower we had our final Moonup, sending nugs to one another individually. With a few tears and more than a few laughs, we filled our last night in Paris with memories and ended the trip on a high note.

We write to you now from the CDG Airport in Paris with teary eyes and heavy hearts. 6A was such a joy for both of us and we are so grateful to have met each and every one of these kids. Their stories we hilarious, their goals were admirable, and their determination was inspirational. I know that these memories will stick with us forever, and we hope they will with the kids as well.

80+ miles, 30k+ ft elevation gain, 4 countries, and 13 new best friends; What a summer.

Never forget to be kind, spread the joy, and chase the stoke. So much love, 6A.


With love and joy,

Ali and Duke


Bonjour, Paris!

July 28, 2023

Bonjour from Luz Saint Sauver, France where we now rest after 7 challenging days trekking across the mighty Pyrenees Mountains! These mountains have taught us toughness, grit, and determination as we covered roughly 110km and 6500m of elevation gain as we hopped back and forth between Spain and France.

Both countries had wonderful views and good food to offer as we made our way through their respective mountains and valleys.

We started out our journey in France as we made our way up a gradual incline, through a dense forest, on a trail that winded up a valley, next to a river, with many cascading waterfalls. We spotted some delicious wild blueberry bushes here for all to try. Hill devoured a few handfuls to power himself up the trail. Soon enough we arrived at a beautiful alpine lake with stunning views of the tall mountains surrounding us. Telling life stories as we went, the group finally made it to our first hostel that boasted amazing views of a large glacier and massive peaks above us. We dined on lasagna and yummy fruits for dinner before we fell asleep under a cozy layer of fog. In the morning we climbed to the border where we entered Spain for a moment, but shortly after we crossed back into France for our lunch above yet another, but higher and bluer, alpine lake.

As we descended into Spain the group sang songs as we trekked the 15 km to our hostel. As we passed fellow trail goers, the group was quick to switch to Spanish. Duke and Sims wrote a new song to practice their Spanish skills. Upon arrival to the hostel the group took a dip in the chilly water. Starving from the lengthy trek we grabbed some afternoon snacks. Emma devoured a burger while Ali chowed down on a yummy salad. Later that night, or early the next morning, 1,500 cows were herded through the backyard of the hostel. Mooing as they passed the group woke from our slumber to discover this feat. None the less we arose in the morning well rested and ready to hike. We made our way to Torla, a small mountain town tucked in the valley below the famed Ordesa Canyon. We continued our tradition of afternoon snacks with a tapas party. Calamari, chicken tenders, fries, pizza, salad, and dessert were shared among the group as we took in views of the mountains above. After a quick snack we headed down to the river for a swim. We found a swimming hole with deep water and jumped right in to cool off. Jack skillfully twisted through the air and into the water, gaining applause from the locals on the riverbank. Shepard faced the cold water once again, staying in much longer than anyone else. After a swim everyone grabbed a book or journal to read and write while taking in the late afternoon rays.

After a relaxing day we faced our most difficult day of trekking yet. With 22km of distance and 1000m of climbing ahead of us we started off the morning early. After a quick shuttle to the top of the Ordesa Canyon we began our walk. We entered the high mountains with beautiful and rugged terrain. Being sure to stay safe we took it slow, which allowed us to enjoy the most stunning views so far on the trip. We passed a large flock of sheep and Shepard took to her name and tended to the flock for a moment. We all sang “Bah Bah Black Sheep” to serenade the herd as they moved on. Just after lunch we had to say bye bye to Ali and Hunter H. (due to an allergic reaction). To keep vibes high Anna and Palmer started an impromptu dance party! The group boogied down on to music from our glory days (middle school). Sims taught the group how to dougie. Everyone tried, but determined his was the best. The group continued on and finally made it to the most technical section, Le Breche de Roland. This large gap in the rocky mountain top provided steep hiking, a little climbing, incredible views, and our return into France!

Now back into France, we made our way down, but not without some fun! As we came across a snow field the group took turns glissading, or sledding, down the slippery slope. Hunter P. took off and slid his way all the way down, by far the fastest. Once we arrived at our hostel we relaxed, downed some crepes, and took a nap after out long day on the trail. After a delicious dinner and dessert, the group had Moonup on a beautiful Col with an amazing sunset. The next morning the group got up early for an Alpine start and headed back up through the Breche towards our goal for the day, the summit of Le Tallon, a 3144m mountain on the Spanish/French Border. We made it to the summit, took some celebratory photos, and headed down to escape the windy mountain top. After a quick lunch we headed back down through the Breche and returned to our hostel. Later in the afternoon Ali and Hunter H. rejoined! Not wanting to miss on the views, climbing, and snow they headed up to the Breche to experience the mountain for themselves. Hunter H. masterfully climbed through the technical sections and made it to the top in no time!

Continuing the tour de France, the group trekked along to the highest waterfall in Europe! Margaret, Shepard, and Ali could not resist the blue lagoons and jumped in the water underneath the smaller falls just around the corner from the highest peak. At this point we said bye bye to Jack, who had to flee to Gavernie due to tummy issues. On the final day, without Jack present as our cow whisperer, the cows followed the group along the final trails of the trek and nearly charged Elizabeth and the group. Through speed and grit and a conveniently located river, the group dodged the angry herd and made it all the way down to Luz.

Through the mountains we had the most amazing time discovering the Pyrenees and we can’t wait to switch dirt and rock for cobblestone and concrete as we begin our adventure in Paris!

See you Soon!

Duke, Ali, and the CHA 6A crew




Thank you’s:


Jack: Thank you mom and dad for sending me on this trip! It’s been such a great experience and I loved it! See you soon!


Sims: Hey mom and dad, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. It has truly been once in a lifetime. Love y’all and see y’all soon!


Hill: Thank y’all so much for putting in all the effort to get me on this trip! I’m having the best time I’m absolutely loving it! See y’all soon!


Shep: Hey mom and dad! Thank you guys so much for sending me on this trip! I’ve met so many cool people and seen so many amazing things! Love y’all


Hunter Hitchens: Thank you dad for creating such cool experiences for everyone!! Thank you for bringing all these people together!! You rock!! Love you!! Thanks mom for being awesome!! Love you too!!


Margaret: Hey mom and dad!! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! I have met the coolest people and have experienced some of the coolest things. Love and miss y’all!!


Anna: Hi Mom and Dad! Thank y’all so much for sending me on this trip :)) I’ve had the best time, and I’ve gotten to do it with the best people! I really can’t thank y’all enough for allowing me this opportunity. Love and miss y’all <333


Palmer: Hi Klobes! Thank you so much for giving me these life changing opportunities- this is truly the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful and beyond thankful for you guys! I miss you and can’t wait to see you! 123


Elizabeth: Hi Mom and Dad!! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! It has been such a cool experience and I can’t believe it’s over, but I can’t wait to see y’all soon!! Hope Nantucket has been fun! Love you ❤️❤️


Emma: hi mum and dad!!! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip and giving me these amazing experiences. This trip has been so cool and we’ve seen so many cool things. I can’t wait to tell you all about it and can’t wait to see you guys soon!! I love you!

Prepping for the Pyrenees!

July 19, 2023

Hola from Costa Brava, Spain!!!

After a few long days of trekking, the group got to chillax: chillin’ on the beautiful shores of L’Escala and relaxin in the rugged yurts in the Yelloh Village camping site.

Almost immediately after our arrival, the group headed straight towards the beach. The beach was full to the brim sunburnt families and tourists speaking languages from all over the world. After a riveting game of Dance-Move-Big-Booty and mermaids with the group, Margaret and Ali tested their swimming skills and raced to the buoy far from the shore.

Before the beach time on the train ride to Spain, the group learned about a special “religion” called “Kimball-ism”. Kimball-ism, a made-up religion coined by a middle school-aged Ali, represented the belief in Karma as a guiding power, that everything happens for a reason, and an aptitude to seek joy and chase the stoke. Other aspects of Kimball-ism include respecting its religious holidays such as any sunny day above 75 degrees, anytime it snows, whenever the Patriots play, when UVA wins a national championship, and also all Mondays to incorporate a 3-day weekend every weekend. Said holidays do require cancellation of school and work for practicing members of the religion.

Quickly resonating with the values of Kimball-ism, the group was eager to join as the first and founding members of the religion that would guide them for the rest of the trip. With that comes the story of 6A in Spain and their journey of finding their Kimball-istic selves:


In the beginning, there was Karma … Dharma … and Charma-in Ultrasoft. The campsite was quiet and full of the world’s largest colony of ants (true story) and the spirit of Ali saw that it was lonely. And Ali said let there be laughs. And Ali saw that the laughs were good. She saw that there was water and saw that there was sand. And Ali joined the sand and the water and called it the beach. She saw that there were empty yurts and 12 children. And Ali joined the yurts and the children and called it Moondance in Costa Brava.

And Ali saw that it was good.

On the first day, Margaret, Shepard, and Hunter H. summoned a dance party at the campsite and guided the group to an empty dance floor dawned with a DJ, smoke machine, twenty young children from the Netherlands, and their accompanying parents with dropped jaws. The group worked up a sweat, dancing to American songs with each other and the children.

And Ali saw that it was good.

When dusk came the children were hungry. So Ali and Duke (her counterpart) saw that there was food. Tired from creating all of Costa Brava, Ali and Duke saw that there was food… made by the kids for a cook-off.

Sims, Hill, Hunter and Jack created homemade fried chicken sandwiches and Ali and Duke saw that they were good.

Anna, Elizabeth, and Emma created stir-fry with dessert and Ali and Duke saw that it was good.

Palmer, Hunter, Shepard, and Margaret created decomposed kabobs (because Ali had not made sticks yet) and Ali and Duke saw that they were the best.

The third group was granted a golden bar (of Toblerone Swiss chocolate) as a tribute to their success.

On the second day, Ali saw the empty sea. And Ali said let there be Kayaks and kids to fill the sea with joy. So, Ali saw that the children of Moondance explore the sea on these Kayaks. Hunter P. explored the deep sea with his snorkeling goggles. And Jack blessed the GoPro with videos of himself jumping off a rock in the deep sea.

And Ali saw that it was good.

On this same day, the group kayaked from the cove to a hidden beach to Ali to be Kimball-ized. With a pat on the belly and a dunking of their heads underwater the group one by one went up from the water and held the world (and our dry bag filled with our sandwiches) was open to them.

And they saw the spirit of Duke descending like a jellyfish coming to rest and behold a voice from Tennessee said “Seek the joy, Chase the stoke”

And Ali saw that it was good.

On the fifth day, the newly Kimball-ized group continued to get stoked for our activities both on the water and off the shore. Sims as the lead Spanish translator, helped the group prepare a traditional Spanish dish during a cooking class. Ali saw tables full of ingredients and saw that they were put together by the kids. Emma mastered the Salmon tartare, while Anna and Elizabeth worked on preparing the Paella. The rest of the group joined together making Pan et Tomate, grilled lettuce with pesto, and fresh guacamole. The group with salty hair and tanned skin enjoyed their last supper in Spain.

And the whole of 6A saw that it was good.


And that was the story of the beginning of Kimball-ism and our trip to Spain.

With our new values at the forefront of our minds, we head to Lourdes, France to begin our incredible journey through the Pyrenees! We cannot wait to see what they hold and to continue upholding our Kimballistic values of being kind to others and being adventurous while we explore the Spanish and French mountains!

With love and karma,

Ali and Duke

Bonjour from Switzerland!

July 15, 2023

Bonjour from Geneva! After a beautiful, challenging, and rewarding trek of the Tour du Mont Blanc the team has returned from the trail, made it out of the Alps, and is headed to Costa Brava!!


As we trekked up, over, and down mountain passes (Col en Francais) the group sang songs to keep morale high and motivation flowing. Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and Tyler Childers were among the favorites, but the best were the ones made up on our own. Each day brought a new song that sounded something like this:


(to the sound of mary had a little lamb)


We trekked through the TMB, TMB, TMB

We trekked through the TMB all the way to Italy

With Nico as our guide


Anna taught us cheer and dance, cheer and dance, cheer and dance

Anna taught us cheer and dance as Hunter (H.) played us songssss (behind her back on guitar!)

Margaret made us food, made us food, made us food,

Margaret made us food and cut the cheese for dinnnnner


We trekked through the TMB, TMB, TMB

We trekked through the TMB all the way to Italy

With Nico as our guide


Sims learned how to cartwheel, cartwheel, cartwheel

Sims learned how to cartwheel as Duke tried and failed

Hill arrived to Cham today, Cham today, Cham today

Hill arrived to Cham today and we enjoyed two iceee creams


We trekked through the TMB, TMB, TMB

We trekked through the TMB all the way to Italy

With Nico as our guide


As we sang songs and danced along we made our way across the mighty Alps to many different hostels, but we all had a favorite….the Cheese Factory. Deep into the French side of the trek, high on a hill, far from all roads, on the most remote part of the Tour du Mont Blanc, sits a small cabin in a big field with big mountains as a wonderful backdrop. This hostel doubles as a cheese factory and we had one of the best meals of the trek here. Elizabeth, Anna, and Shepard helped prepare the Raclette cheese, potatoes, and salad dinner masterfully while Hunter (P.) serenaded the group with a combination of Tyler Childers, Declan McKenna, and The Beatles. After dinner we had an impromptu dance party in the rain. After the rain passed, we enjoyed the sights of an Alpine sunset accompanied by a beautiful rainbow and a hilarious photo shoot thanks to Palmer’s camera she brought along.


Our next hostel was just as fun and just as beautiful. At the foot of a snowcapped mountain, we arrived and welcomed ourselves with a delicious fresh homemade blueberry pie. After filling up we cooled off in a bubbling mountain stream and played a group favorite game: Rock-Rock. Shepard was a wiz and beat everyone handily, while staying in the freezing cold water for almost an hour. Emma generously shared her friendship bracelet string and taught everyone, even the boys, how to craft beautiful artisan bracelets that will last a lifetime (Check us out on Etsy after the trip (shameless plug)).


As we finished our trek we arrived in Courmayeur, Italy. Courmayeur is a beautiful mountain valley town located at the base of Mont Blanc. We dined on a fantastic Italian pasta and pizza dinner and played a quick game of tag in the narrow Italian village streets. We slept peacefully that night and woke up to our favorite breakfast yet. Our final day on the TMB was culminated by a short final hike, some poster shopping, and a wonderful long lunch in a small park. We played soccer with some local school kids, swung on swings, gave Ali a much needed history lesson, and went lap after lap after lap on a zip line. We snagged some gelato and we all ordered in Italian, thanks to Hunter H.’s masterful Italian speaking skills she taught us. Citron (lemon in English) was a crowd favorite.


We took a short bus through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc, a 12km tunnel under the massive mountain, back to Chamonix. We arrived back at Chamoniard Volant, and shortly after we welcomed Hill to the group!! We celebrated Hill’s arrival with more gelato (his topped with a singing candle) and a welcome song from the group. We picked up a basketball and hooped for a while on the coolest court in the world. We played a big 7 on 7 game (a local joined us to make the number even) and Hunter P (6’4″), Sims (6’4″) , and Jack (6’4″) shined. Hunter P. (35 pts, 17 rbs, 12 asst , 15/20 from the field) scored every single one of his teams’ points while leading the field in assists attempted, passes, and rebounds. Jack put both Duke (6’1″) (3 pts, 1/35 from the field) and Ali (6′ 8″) (2 pts, 1/15 from the field) “on a poster” as he soared through the sky and dunked on them.


We can’t wait to explore the Spanish beaches, coastlines, and culture over the next few days as we travel across the Costa Brava region via foot, sea, and car!



-Duke, Ali, and the complete Chamonix 6A crew



Shout Outs!!



Anna: Hi Mom and Dad, and HBD Will!!😁💙💙 I hope you have the best day ily (tell Stella I said hey too)! I’m having so much fun and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip! Love and miss y’all so much! && Ruby :))


Hunter Hitchens: hello family and friends!! im having a blast!! Cham was such a cool place to be!! The TMB was so cool!! Im making great friends!! Miss y’all and the dogs!! Duke and Ali are great!!💗🐩🦒🐫👖🙌


Elizabeth: Hi Mom and Dad!! We just finished the TMB and it was so much fun! i love my group and i’m excited for Spain, but i miss y’all!! hope you are relaxing without me :)) Tell Harry & Willy I miss them! love you!


Margaret: Hey Mom and Dad! We our currently on the way to Costa Brava to then hang out on the beach. I hope y’all are having a blast in France and Austria and drinking some good wine. I love and miss y’all!


Palmer: Hey Klobes! Cham and the TMB was incredible and beautiful- don’t worry I’ve taken literally hundreds of pics. Hope y’all are killing the move and B and W are having a blast on all their trips! Heading to Costa Brava now- miss y’all 🙂 Say hi to Ponch, Boz, and Daisy!!!


Emma: Hi Mum and Dad!! I miss you guys so much! Poppy i hope your play is going well and mum i hope London has been amazing. the trip has been so fun i’ve taken lots of cool pics and eaten some good pizza. its beautiful here! on the train to Costa Brava now. love you guys!!!!


Shepard: Hey Mom and Dad! The trip has been awesome so far and we are currently headed to Costa Brava Spain. We got to watch the rock climbing finals in Chamonix which was super cool. Give Mallie and Chick a hug from me. Miss y’all!


Jack: Hey fam and ain. Cham was super fun and we got to see the world rock climbing championship which was awesome. Everyone is super nice and it has been great. I also conquered half of TMB which was sweet. We are headed to the beach now and then the Pyrenees. I miss you guys so much and will see you all so soon!

Sims: Hey Mom, Dad, Liza, and Mae Mae if you’re back yet. Having a great time and making a lot of friends. Duke and Ali are awesome, as is the whole group. Cham was great and the TMB was a sweet experience. Miss y’all so much


Hill: Hey guys I know its only been a few days but I’m having so much fun! The group is super awesome and I’m loving getting to know all of them! Tell Mere I say hi and I miss her! Write a note to Elizabeth saying I say hi also! Love y’all!


Hunter Plaster: Hey family! This trip has been the time of my life and trekking the TMB has been a surreal experience. I have the best group. I can’t wait to get back and tell y’all all about it.


Duke: Hey friends and fam!! This summer has been incredible so far and I’ve made memories to last a lifetime!! Finished all of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The Pyrenees are stunning. Coastal Spain is a dream. It is all more beautiful than I could’ve imagined! Experiencing these cultures is so cool too! I’ll be back in Chattanooga at the start of August and Charleston shortly after. I’ll see you all soon. Love you and miss you – Duke


Ali: Hi mom, dad, and probably grandma price!! Missing you all tons, but having the best time ever. Can’t wait to show you pictures and tell you about all of our incredible stories. Lots of love 143 to the moon and back.



July 12, 2023

Oui oui oui we have arrived!!!!

We welcomed 6A with a warm sweaty smile as we waited for them in the hot CDG airport. The group arrived cheery and slightly delirious from the jet lag and within minutes of their arrival to Paris, each devoured a warm croissant to show their excitement and appreciation for the country that would be their home for the next few weeks. Through planes, trains, and automobiles, the group made their way to Chamonix just in time for a warm duck dinner at the Chamonird Volant. While en route, we snacked on unique French candies while Anna dominated the bunch in a riveting game of Uno.

The next day, Chamonix was hustling and bustling with people who had come from all over the world to watch the Rock Climbing World Cup. The town square was full of activities, climbers, and rock walls that left the group in awe. Sims even took his shot at the bouldering wall and eventually mastered a few routes, making it to the top multiple times.Walking between then vendor booths we spotted a tent that gave us the chance to win a free hat. The goal was to throw a carabiner into the empty slots of an old climbing wall. If you got 3/5 in the hole you won a customized hat. After failed attempts by 11 members of the group, Palmer finally stepped up and with skill and ease successfully defeated the challenge. The tent was nice enough to give the group all matching hats which we wore as we walked the Chamonix streets in style.

Elizabeth and Hunter P., the first Leaders of the Day, led the group through the busy streets as they checked out local stores and saw pretty views. Jack spotted a unique Tour du Mont Blanc Tee and just had to pick it up, foreshadowing the awesome trekking days to come.Next stop was lunch at The Roster, a local spot filled with hip music and delicious burgers. While waiting for the food, Hunter H. taught Emma and Ali the Egyptian Rat Slap card game and dominated the table with her speedy skills.

After lunch we hopped on a small train down to Servoz to visit Gorges de Diosaz. The group was expertly paced by Shepard who navigated the wooden bridges and steep stairs up the the enchanting waterfall. With a slight jog back to the train to help train for the mountains (and also not miss the last train). We made it back to Chamonix and congratulated ourselves with gelato as Margaret made friends with the French people in line.After a delicious dinner of chicken and mushrooms at the hostel, the group ventured back into town to watch the Rock Climbing World Cup Finals. The square was filled with over 2,000 roaring fans facing one man-made rock wall and to their right the glowing white Mont tu Blanc. The climbers, lit up by a single spotlight, made their way effortlessly up the challenging course. Our very own Colin Duffy from the US gave his shot and although he didn’t make top 3, was still a fan favorite among the group.

We ended the night with a Moonup under the stars (leaving an open spot in the circle for Hill, who we can’t wait to join us soon after the TMB) and watched night climbers descend the grand mountains surrounding us.Overall, it was a ROCK-in start to the trip and the group cannot wait to get on the trails and tackle the TMB!

– Ali, Duke, and the gang

Safely in Paris!

July 8, 2023

Hello Chamonix Families!

We heard from our leaders this morning and the group has landed safely in France! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventures.

Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!

-Moondance HQ


  • Margaret
  • Anna
  • Hill
  • Sims
  • Jack
  • Emma
  • Palmer
  • Hunter
  • Shepard
  • Elizabeth
  • Hunter