Archive for Vale d’Aosta

Rifugio Vittorio Sella al Lauson

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by xi'an

valnontey valleyTo sort of make up for the failed attempt at Monte Rosa, we stayed an extra day and took a hike in Vale d’Aosta, starting from Cogne where we had a summer school a few years ago. And from where we started for another failed attempt at La Grivola. It was a brilliant day and we climbed to the Rifugio Vittorio Stella (2588m) [along with many many other hikers], then lost the crowds to the Colle della Rossa (3195m), which meant a 1700m easy climb. By the end of the valley, we came across steinbocks (aka bouquetins, stambecchi) resting in the sun by a creek and unfazed by our cameras. (Abele Blanc told us later that they are usually staying there, licking whatever salt they can find on the stones.)

steinbocks near Colle della Rossa, Aosta, Jul 16, 2016 near Rifugio Vittorio Stella, Aosta, Jul 16, 2016

The final climb to the pass was a bit steeper but enormously rewarding, with views of the Western Swiss Alps in full glory (Matterhorn, Combin, Breithorn) and all to ourselves. From there it was a downhill hike all the way back to our car in Cogne, 1700m, with no technical difficulty once we had crossed the few hundred meters of residual snow. And with the added reward of seeing several herds of the shy chamois mountain goat.

end of the plateau, Rifugio Vittorio Stella, Aosta, July 16, 2016Except that my daughter’s rental mountaineering shoes started to make themselves heard and that she could barely walk downwards. (She eventually lost her big toe nails!) It thus took us forever to get down (despite me running to the car and back to get lighter shoes) and we came to the car at 8:30, too late to contemplate a drive back to Paris.

view from Colle Della Rossa, Aosta, July 16, 2016

Forte di Bard

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2016 by xi'an

After our aborted attempt at Monte Rosa, Abele Blanc treated us to a quick visit to Forte di Bard, a 19th Century military fortress in the Valley of Aosta [a first version of which was razed by Napoleon’s troops in 1800] on top the medieval village of Bard. Ironically, the current fortress never saw action as Napoleon’s siege was the last invasion of the kingdom of Savoy by French troops.

The buildings are impressive, so seamlessly connected to the rock spur that supports them that they appear to have grown out of it. They reminded me of Vauban’s fortresses, with the feeling that they were already outdated when they got built. (On the French Savoy side, there is a series of fortresses that similarly faced no battle as they were designed to keep the French out, becoming overnight useless when this part of Savoy was ceded to France in exchange for its support of the unification of Italy. For instance, there is such a fort in Aussois, which now houses an hostel, a gastronomical restaurant [we enjoyed at O’Bayes 03], and a via ferrata…)

The fortress has been recently and beautifully renovated with the help of the Italian State and of the European Union. It houses conferences and art exhibits. Like those on Marc Chagall and Elliot Erwitt that we briefly saw, missing the massive museum of the Alps… A few dozen kilometers from Torino, it would be a perfect location for a small workshop, albeit not large enough for a future MCMski.

art brut [at Rifugio Città di Mantova]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2016 by xi'an

sunset over Rifugio Città di Mantova

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by xi'an

up to Rifugio Città di Mantova

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2016 by xi'an

Bayes in the Rockies

Posted in Books, Mountains, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by xi'an

A few months ago, following the course I gave last summer in Vale dAosta, I got contacted by Devin Goodsman from the University of Alberta, in order to organise a short course there for environmental scientists in hierarchical Bayes modelling and its R implementation. I (obviously) accepted the invitation and, thanks to Devin and François Teste, we managed to get the short course housed at the wonderful BIRS (Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery) centre in Banff, in the very heart of the Canadian Rockies. Last time I was at BIRS, it was four year ago for the 07w5079 Bioinformatics, Genetics and Stochastic Computation: Bridging the Gap workshop, organised jointly with Arnaud Doucet and Raphaël Gottardo from UBC, and I enjoyed the place and organisation immensely. (Not to mention the surroundings, as shown this picture of Mount Temple, climbed in 2002, taken from Eiffel Peak.)

The current workshop, Hierarchical Bayesian Methods in Ecology, is numbered 10w2170 and will take place over the weekend of September 10-12 this Fall.  The schedule is provided on the workshop webpage. I plan to cover Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Bayesian Core on Saturday, before spending all of Sunday morning and early afternoon on hierarchical models. I actually plan to take advantage of the revision of Bayesian Core in Luminy next week to include a chapter on hierarchical modelling. Now, there are still a few places left in order to reach the 20 participant (strict) upper limit, so, if you are interested in attending the workshop/course, contact me at my gmail email account: bayesianstatistics. (The cost is $220, which includes two nights of lodging at BIRS and a copy of Introducing Monte Carlo Methods with R! Meals and transportation are not included.)

Aosta [hike 3.2]

Posted in Mountains, Travel with tags , , on July 27, 2009 by xi'an

Parnassius apollo (C.) Abele BlancWe have received in the mail this weekend a cd of the pictures taken by our mountain guide Abele Blanc during the hike last week and they are superb, like the one above of the Parnassius Apollo butterfly, which is one of the emblems of the Gran Paradiso National Park and which mostly dwells in Aosta and in the nearby Valais.