Wednesday 21 May 2014

Sylvie Phobie, Barberine

The last few days have seen the foehn wind blow into Chamonix and as ever it's brought humid, warm and unsettled weather with it. It also seems to affect peoples' mindset and the locals in the Valley will tell you that everyone goes a bit loopy when the foehn arrives. 

Keen to get out in the hills without doing anything loopy, Phil and I decided on a day climbing at Barberine. I'd almost written off rock climbing to a decent level this summer due to a shoulder injury, but Barberine is slabby and I figured it would be a good place to see just what I can and can't do right now. The good news is that slabs seem fine and steep pulls are not entirely impossible if at the right angle, so maybe I could be out on the rock after all this summer and not just pottering around on alpine scrambles.

We decided to do "Sylphie Phobie", on the far left of the crag and shot up the lower pitches without incident to reach the midway ledge. By this stage we were both suffering with our feet (it was SO hot!) and general lethargy, possibly due to the humidity but more likely explained by the thought of a beer on the balcony at home, so after a very enjoyable lunch on the comfortable ledge we'd reached, we decided that we'd had enough for the day and headed down. 

Phil enjoying the shade after some sweaty slab climbing.

Wrestling with the Coke/Orangina dilemma.

Conditions right now are really tough to read so Phil and I are super keen on a mission for the weekend but struggling to figure out the best option. We've got ideas in Cham, the Ecrins, Italy and Zermatt so we could end up anywhere! Psyche is high though so whether we're wearing ski or rock boots, I'll hopefully have a good tale to tell by Monday!

Sunday 11 May 2014

Lyngen report and Chamonix conditions

I'm now back in Cham after an epic trip to Lyngen and with kit sorted and laundry done, I've finally got round to sorting through photos so here are some of my favourites.

The bare essentials!

Heading for the Tomas Couloir on an atmospheric day.

Ellensdalstinden W Couloir.

Skin up, ski down.

On top of Sultinden.

Phil adding his signature next to mine.

From a strong field, this was probably the best panoramic I got on the trip. If you click on the photo you can just about make out some reindeer on the shore in the bottom left.

Drying cod heads. The smell was even worse than I imagined it would be when I walked up to them.

Matt and Phil putting the World to rights over lunch.

My first moose spotting!

Phil on our last day.

Say no more.

 Overall I felt that Lyngen was mind blowing. It lived up to and surpassed any expectations I had and the highest praise I can give it is that I'd go back in a flash. I should admit here however that we got exceptional conditions in terms of snow and weather and just about everyone said that we had hit the best fortnight of the season. I guess the sun shines on the righteous!

I'm now back in Cham and things look pretty typical for May - not much sun, plenty of rain but some really nice quiet days when you do get out in the hills. People are still skiing up high and I might get out on the planks over the next month but I think climbing season is getting underway. I'll report on here once conditions allow me to get into the hills.

Sunday 4 May 2014

More Lyngen

When I get back to Cham I'm going to put a small trip report on about Lyngen, but suffice to say that it is still not rubbish!

We seem to have encountered exceptional conditions for this time of year and we're skiing perfect powder every day, plus we're now at the Magic Mountain Lodge in Lyngseidet, being plied with superb food and wine, so life is pretty rosy.

Here's some photos - 

Saturday 3 May 2014

First few days in Lyngen

It's not rubbish!