Monday, 7 July 2008

Richard and Table du roc couloir

Here are some photos of Richard after climbing the Table du Roc couloir. It's an ace climb and we had a bad weather forecast but rather than skulking around in the the fine cafes of Chamonix we walked up to the refuge Albert 1er in the rain. At 4.00 am the following day we awoke to poor visibility, however we left the hut anyway and by the time we reached the base of the couloir ( the general photo was taken later as we descended from the Col du Tour) the mist had lifted and it looked as though it would be good weather day afterall. There had been some fresh snow deposited, but only very slight. Kathy, Richard and I climbed the couloir in good time, moving together all the way up the snow/ice section.We then scrambled our way along the exciting and exposed ridge to the summit, where we met my good friend Reme who was guiding Tim and Sarah from Australia...Reme was just a few days home from an expedition in Peru where he and a friend had climbed an unclimbed rock ridge and then skied down an extreme snow face..... he does that sort of thing rather often! A colourful character and calculated risk taker and excellent mountain guide! Like many guides and people who work in harsh environments, it can be done in a safe way if you assess the situation and play by all the rules. It's often tempting to take some short cuts, but when the margins are thin, you have to remain firm, precise and sharp and not be tempted by excess ego, peer pressure or materialistic opportunity... and be ready to turn back or review your plan at short notice. Such discipline is not easy when your clients are paying lots of money and only have a short holiday with you.... However, one can still succeed, get the climbs and ski descents completed safely and enjoy a wonderful life....

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