Monday, 28 April 2008

Haute Route

We have had some interesting weather over the past week on our traverse on skis from Chamonix to Zermatt. These photos show: Dave and Mike on the summit of the Pigne D'Arolla, Martin on a motor bike used many years ago to transport goods and skiers on the Argentier glacier and all our group heading out at the start of the trip from Grand Montets ski area!
WE skinned up to the Col du Chardonnet and then over the Fenetre Selina to the Trient Hut. Terry the guardian made us an excellent mid afternoon lunch of Rosti with ham and eggs! However the sky was looking a bit grim, and Terry up-dated the weather forecast and with snow falling I decided that it was good to get down from the hut so we paid our dues and an additional goodwill deposit to Terry for our early departure and skied down the Trient Galcier, climbed up and over the col des Escandies and enjoyed wonderfull powder and then spring snow as we skied down the Val D'Arpette into Champex where we arrived quite late ( 6.00 pm ish) and enjoyed wonderful hospitality in one of the local gites.
The weather deterioated and we spent two days sking and refereshing other ski mountaineering and tranceiver searching skills on and around the pistes of Verbier. Eventually the weather cleared and as we were out of sink with our hut reservations at the Valsorey hut and could no longer get our beds there and we were forced round to Arolla where went via the pas de Chevere to the Dix hut.
This was a pity, but still ace. Later I have learned that there were some spare beds at the Valsorey Hut but the guardian could not guaramtee beds as other groups who had decided not to go to the hut, planned or due to their own weather delays had failed to pick up the phone and cancel their reservations...... so while I hate to say so, it seems that even in our wonderful world of ski-mountaineering and wonderful technology of the mobile phone there are people who cannot be bothered to cancel their Mountain hut reservations when they change their plans! Pity that eh? It's such a wonderful world, I have no idea why humans seem so intent to continue to make such a mess of it!
But anyway, the snow was awesome most of the way between Chamonix and Zermatt and as we neared Zermatt, down the Stoki galcier we hit some breakable crust ......and wow, even Kathy on her wider than average K2 skis took a tumble or three... ( Perhaps I should explain.. It seems in Europe we use narrower skis for ski touring than in the subprime USofA .. where fatter boys and dare I say even girls ( fatter or not, but its irrelevant to the discussion, probably, but then again, how can anything female be irrelevant?). Anyway, apparently it's been noiced that they use a wider skis on the other side of the pond! Does that include C a n a d a? ha ha!!! I think its resonable to say that on good or even crusty old snow packs one would use less calories on Fat skis and the sking experience may be less of a challange, which may mean its more enjoyable....?) - but then again, perhaps I should stick to my core busness .. as my theories could be flawed! Comments please to : it's intersting to explore.....

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