Archive for avalanches

a faint memory of ice

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2018 by xi'an

 

During the past week of vacations in Chamonix, I spent some days down-hill skiing (which I find increasingly boring!), X-country skiing (way better), swimming (indoors!) and running, but the highlight (and the number one reason for going there!) was an ice cascade climb with a local guide, Sylvain (from the mythical Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix). There were very options due to the avalanche high risk and Sylvain picked a route called Déferlante at the top of Les Grands Montets cabin stop and next to the end of a small icefield, Glacier d’Argentière. We went there quite early to catch the first cabin up, along a whole horde of badasss skiers and snowboarders, and reached the top of the route by foot first, a wee bit after 9 pm. A second guide and a client appeared before we were ready to abseil down, and two more groups would appear later. On touring skis. Continue reading

danger zone

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by xi'an

on Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis, Scotland, Apr. 23, 2012Prior to the ICMS meeting last year in Edinburgh, I spent two days in the Highlands, first in Glencoe climbing Bidean nam Bian, then on the Ben itself, with the classic Tower Ridge route. These were fantastic climbs in still wintry Scottish conditions and I enjoyed them tremendously without feeling any proximity with danger at any time (although I backed down from a snow corridor on Bidean nam Bian for missing an extra iceaxe…) On the previous weekends, there were alas two accidents on those same routes, first a group of four taken by an avalanche near Bidean nam Bian and second a lone climber on the Tower Ridge route… While climbing solo always involves some degree of objective danger, especially on exposed ridges like Tower Ridge, the casualties on Bidean nam Bian sounded more like “shit happens“. An unlikely and very rare accident cause by an accumulation of circumstances that were just too hard to predict. And to avoid (except by spending the day at the Clachaig Inn, which has its own risk!)

spurned once again by Lady MacDonald [ridge]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by xi'an

Since the huge amount of snow on the ground (plus a lack of snowshoes and an avalanche warning) prevented us (Alex, Devin, and myself) from climbing Ha Ling peak (rightmost peak on the above) on Sunday as we had planned, we crossed the valley to check whether Lady MacDonald was more welcoming than last time. (Despite highly pessimistic and eventually misinformed warnings from the lady at the Canmore information centre.) There was just enough snow to make the first part of the climb easier than on dry terrain and we reached the eyesore of the teahouse ruins in early afternoon, meeting two groups that had turned around there. Continue reading