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The 48-Hour Dress: From a Wedding to a Climb in Chamonix

Brittany Griffith  /  July 15, 2011  /  4 Min Read  /  Climbing, Community, Design

Kelly, telepathically dictating to his laptop back down in town, and I on the train up to the reception. Photo: Jen Olson

As the sun heated up our little apartment, I drifted out of my dream and awoke to a bizarre scene: people sprawled all over the floor, futon and tiny twin beds…I could hear chatter in half a dozen languages, clinking plates and glasses… the faint smell of tobacco, espresso and butter… a marching band playing outside the open window. We had all really tied one on last night (and a chunk of the next morning) for Zoe and Max’s wedding in Chamonix, France. My muddied mind failed to function. I tried to assess the situation. What time was it? What felt worse: my jet lag or my hangover? Why had I slept in my dress? Who… the… hell… was typing?

I rolled past JT, got out of bed, stepped over the floor-bivied Janet, turned the corner, and there was Kelly, on the futon, typing away. Kelly! Was he already writing a TCL post about the wedding? That sneaky bastard!

“Whatcha writin’, Kelly?” I asked suspiciously. He and I both frequently write posts for The Cleanest Line and I was sure he was trying to beat me to the punch and be the first to write about the wedding. He looked like a little troll, propped up on a cushion, salt-and-pepper mullet wildly disheveled and wearing an unbuttoned rumpled dress shirt and Cap 2 Boxer Briefs (shudder). He was squinting intently at his laptop screen while furiously pecking at the keys. He looked up at me without moving his head, kinda like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

“Ah… no, no… I’m not really doing anything,” he muttered unconvincingly as he slowly continued to type.

Damn it! He really was already writing a TCL post about the wedding! Not only was he a better writer than me, he could get up with a Level-10 wedding hangover three hours earlier than me and write! Damn alpinists – why can’t they sleep in like normal people?


It was Sunday mid-morning. I had left SLC at 4:50pm on Friday afternoon with a fairly tight travel plan: arrive at 2:10 pm Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, catch a ride across the border to Chamonix and make it just in time (hopefully) for the wedding at 3:45pm. The drive to Cham from GVA is about an hour. Plenty of time, right? But just in case, I thought it would be a good idea to wear on the plane what I would wear to the wedding. No time to change, no problem – I’ll already be ready! I boarded my flight in SLC wearing my dress.

With only a few undetectable dribbles of Merlot and possibly some Ambien-induced drool on my dress, I rushed out of Swiss customs with just an MLC Wheelie (the customs agent said I looked “elegant”… thank you, Splendor dress!). Zoe’s friend was there to pick me up and whisked me away to the wedding. I arrived at the ceremony only three minutes late. No one noticed that I had arrived a touch late – or that I had had the same dress on for 20-plus hours. Yes!

3minlateSneaking in three minutes late. I left the MLC Wheelie just outside the door. Photo: Janet Bergman

BrideandBAGThe Bride and The BAG. Photo: Jen Olson

Fast-forward 24 hours. It’s Sunday, I’m at dinner with JT, Kelly and some other friends on the plaza. JT and I had spent a few hours earlier in the afternoon occupied with “First Day In Country” errands: remembering how to speak French, eating ham and cheese baguettes, and trying to shake jet lag with equal parts espresso and red wine. We also had to amass some loaner climbing gear from Zoe that we would use for the remainder of our two weeks in Chamonix.

GearinchamRacked up and still rockin’ the Splendor.

Photo: Jonathan Thesenga

ChamplazaSunset on the plaza and I’m still in the Splendor.

Photo: Jonathan Thesenga

One of our friends at dinner comments on my dress, and I realized I was still in the Splendor. I had traveled overseas in it, attended a wedding in it, slept in it, had breakfast in it (well, ok, more like lunch), ran errands around Chamonix in it and now was at dinner in it. HA! Could Kelly write about that? I laughed to myself. I think (hope) not.

Going to bed that night, exhausted and still un-showered, I figured “Why not?” and kept the Splendor on to sleep in. I certainly wasn’t going to sleep naked – Walker Ferguson, a friend of ours at Patagonia, had stayed in the apartment the week before and who the hell knows what he got up to in those unwashed sheets.

Seconds after waking up the next morning, JT ordered me straight into the bath. After getting the tub filled up with perfect-temp water, I got in – still wearing my dress (more than 48 hours after first putting in on), and washed it clean, right there in the tub.

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