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Bond in the Alps

You Only Live Twice

Book 1964 Chamonix France
Film 1967 n/a


In Ian Fleming's penultimate James Bond novel, You Only Live Twice, he reveals that Bond was orphaned at the age of 11. It's a rare look at the backstory of Bond and the Alps making a final appearance in the novels. James' father Andrew Bond was married to Monique Delacroix, a Swiss citizen, a storyline which was influenced by a romance Fleming had with Monique Panchaud de Bottens whilst studying in Geneva. Fleming goes on to describe the demise of his father and mother in a climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges on an unnamed route.

The Aiguilles Rouges is a mountain range on the north side of the Chamonix valley, partly designated as a nature reserve and mostly used for hiking. The Red Needles take their colour from the gneiss rocks that form them and are popular with rock climbers and boulderers, the popular routes are around Planpraz and Le Brévent. It's an unusual location to choose as most of the alpine climbing in the valley takes place on the south side of the valley on the Mont Blanc massif with many notable routes, many of which are the site of accidents.


No mention of the Alps

James Bond was born of a Scottish father, Andrew Bond of Glencoe, and a Swiss mother, Monique Delacroix, from the Canton de Vaud. His father being a foreign representative of the Vickers armaments firm, his early education, from which he inherited a first-class command of French and German, was entirely abroad. When he was eleven years of age, both his parents were killed in a climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix, and the youth came under the guardianship of an aunt, since deceased, Miss Charmian Bond, and went to live with her at the quaintly-named hamlet of Pett Bottom near Canterbury in Kent.