Home Sweet Home

Image

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!

dsc_1436-2

Coaching how to fist jam. Photo Martin Chester

dsc_1441-2

Me leading Shadow Wall. Photo Martin Chester

dsc_1447

John Whittaker seconding. Photo Martin Chester

dsc_1470

Me on Western Rib, Dinas Mot. Photo Martin Chester

dsc_1488

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

dsc_1493

On The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

dsc_1508

John Whittaker belaying me on The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

dsc_1522

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

john-on-the-link

John on the jugs. Photo Martin Chester

 

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

598a2220598a2154598a2227

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

20161005_12453120161005_12440520161005_12431520161005_124935

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.

img_20161006_090028img_20161006_090043img_20161006_100630bildschirmfoto-2016-10-07-um-09-08-02bildschirmfoto-2016-10-07-um-09-06-04img_20161006_145609img_20161006_151420

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

20160929_11544020160929_12495220160929_143815img_20160929_172441

Finally a couple of scenic shots and Michelle at Elevation!

img_20161001_182540img_20161002_120147img_20161002_185347

Return to Rock

After a quick warm up on Mont Oreb’s ‘l’Ete Indiane to get back into things, we spent 3 back to back days last week escaping the 35 degree valley heat on the perfect golden granite on South Face of Midi 3842 m climbing Kolmann (6a+), Contamine (7a) and Jules de Chez Smith (6b). With cooler temperatures this week we were able to hit the fingery Zone at Gietroz and sample some of its impeccable gneiss.20140611_091503 20140613_114605 20140613_095650 20140613_085059 20140613_074230 20140612_103907#1 20140612_102747 20140611_120613 20140611_110814 20140611_110745#1 20140611_110432 20140611_103543 20140611_093837Ramche Hyper-12Ramche Hyper-7