Home Sweet Home

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After nearly six months away from home this year its great to finally be home, wake up in the same bed, catch up with friends and enjoy the Fall in the Alps in the autumn. I love this time of year with the valley being quiet, temperatures better for riding, near perfect friction on the rock, early snows of the winter, first turns…the hardest thing can be deciding what to do! Its especially sweet that he hard work in Wales this summer paid off and past the British Mountains Guides’ summer rock test and will be going to Scotland for the winter test next. At the start of summer I had a bad bike crash when I dropped the front end off a jump a piled my neck into the ground.  There was a lot of heavy crunching in my back and while I spat out bits of broken teeth, my back muscles went into hard spasm stopping me from getting much air in my lungs. It was a pretty scary experience and with my back feeling weird I made a beeline for the emergency room. The doctor was pretty nonchalant about it, monitored my blood pressure for a few hours and released me armed with a paracetamol and the advice that I might be a little sore in the morning. Having played rugby and raced bike downhill for years I’m not unused to taking hard knocks but this was a new level.  A week of not being able to sleep and 3 weeks of complete inactivity had me thinking it was unlikely I’d get into shape for the guides exam. 3 months later and I was starting to move a bit better and not feel like I’d been hit in the back with a sledge hammer, but for a while there were some major doubts about getting over this injury in time! A big thanks goes to Martin Chester who spent a day giving me some great tips during my final preparation for the test. He’s a IFMGA mountain guide and a fantastic performance coach and all round nice guy so check him out at: martinchester.co.uk  Also a big thanks to John Whittaker for being the perfect mock client – hope to see you for some Scottish Winter action!

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Coaching how to fist jam. Photo Martin Chester

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Me leading Shadow Wall. Photo Martin Chester

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John Whittaker seconding. Photo Martin Chester

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Me on Western Rib, Dinas Mot. Photo Martin Chester

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Placing gear on The Chain, a quality crack pitch, Dinas Mot. Photo Martin Chester

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On The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

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John Whittaker belaying me on The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

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John getting the finger locks on The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

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John on the jugs. Photo Martin Chester

 

The following biking photos are from Merlet, my home run.

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And Gietroz with Enrico Mosetti and Beatrice Michelotti (photo credits)

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Then to the Gabarrou route on the triangle with Phil Brugger who is over from Innsbruck to train in the high mountain. Its ultra dry and the crux would be way easier in rock shoes but feels like M6+ right now. Short and sharp.

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And skiing on the normal route of Mont Blanc du Tacul.

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Finally a couple of scenic shots and Michelle at Elevation!

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Vallencant – A Different Perspective

Photos from Tommasco Cardelli (White Spirit Guides, Dolomites) of your recent trip to Cristallo and the Vallencant Couloir.Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-10Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-1Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-2Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-4Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-7Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-11Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-14Ross Hewitt Canale Vallencant-21
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Dolomiti Freeride

When Minna first sent me a note asking if I wanted to deploy to the Dolomites for the weekend, I have to say I was less than enthusiastic. I’d just finished a heavy week training on skins, bikes and pushing weights, I had work to do and DIY to finish. The perpetual climate change hurricane was destroying the snow in Cham and I felt like I could use my time more efficiently at home than getting up at 4 am and driving half the way to Kalymnos and back in the hope of some snow. Its been a long time since we spent every winter weekend driving through the night chasing Scottish winter climbing conditions and I have to say I don’t miss the driving. Then she mentioned 80 cm. And no wind. Well maybe!

Arriving at Passo Rolle we set of for the Burreloni Couloir and at this point I found the plan was to climb the line rather than ski to the top. I’d left the spanking paddles at home and with so much snow about I didnt have much hope of success which was fine as my body was tired and sore and it was nice just to be in the sunshine discovering a new place. As we entered the cirque, the slide path of a Cat 5 avalanche triggered in the hot afternoon sun the day before confirmed how much snow was about. We skinned up towards the couloir and started the monumental task of swimming up the couloir.

The ski down held super sluffy powder on the left bank and it was a real pleasure skiing with the snow running all around – we havent had much of that this season.  Those Dolomiti lines really are ancient hallways gouged through the big walls, very Baffinesk.

Next day Domolmiti Guides Tommasco Cardelli and Cristian Dallapozza joined us to ski on the Cristallo. Conditons were perfect with no wind so we decided to climb along the ridge and ski the Vallencant. I’ve been wanting to ski this one for about 20 years so it was great to finally go. After a firmer top section we hit the pow and the fun started. In the afternoon we skied the beautiful Bus Tofane under the big walls and finished the day with a well earned beer and Pizza.

Our last day out was on the Marmolada where we skied some complex line avoiding limestone slabs down the North West Face. It was a real Cairngorm howler of a day with low vis so I didnt bother taking a camera.

A big thanks to Minna for doing all the driving, to Tommi for letting me stay and to both Tommi and Cristian for showing us some great stuff.

Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-1 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-2 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-3 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-4 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-5 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-6 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-7 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-8 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-9 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-10 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-11 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-12 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-13 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-14 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-15 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-16 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-17 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-18 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-19 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-20 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-21 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-22 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-23 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-24 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-25 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-26 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-27 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-28 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-29 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-30 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-31 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-32 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-33 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-34 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-35 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-36 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-37 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-38 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-39 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-40 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-41 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-42 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-43 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-44 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-45 Domoliti Vallencant Burreloni Rihiimaki Dallapozza Hewitt Cardelli-46

Bel Oiseau SW Couloir

Corn harvesting on Bel Oiseau south west couloir  from the summit to the dam with Minna Riihimaki and Tommasco Cardelli. The day got weird near the end.SAM_165020150324_11473211082786_1035299126498934_46938582_n11086986_1035299099832270_1295628945_n
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Getting the angle on the line to see if there’s enough snow.
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Bush trimming done.20150324_132530

 

Into the Hobbit hole.11082714_1035298873165626_985351346_n11094373_1035298829832297_192090_n

 

A long walk in the dark with only a phone as a torch. We found some strange things. 11051230_1035298863165627_1692623301_n20150324_134932Before Tommi opened the door to freedom we were climbing this ladder in the pitch dark trying to hold our only source of light, a phone!