January 2020 in Chamonix

Another video from this ski season. OK it is starting to look like we only skied the Grand Montet.

Well that is almost true for the first couple of weeks of the season.

This was the best day ever with one of the most memorably fabulously fluffy runs down the back face after the heart attack inducing skin up to the top.

I may be almost getting used to it … almost

If you want evidence that we did do other things then check out the Flickr collection from our habitual 2 weeks with the usual suspects.

The Dru and friends

Eventually there will be a movie. One of the projects for the three weeks of furlough I am about to be sent on on account of the new coronovirus economics.

Turning back the Clock and up the Skyway

We’ve been to the Montblanc region a lot. Skied and walked on both the italian and French sides .. ok mainly skied but we’ve never been up the skyway.

Thanks to Storm Edna or something the Aiguille du Midi was closed and our Chamonix season pass should apparently get us up the Skyway which is just on the Italian side of the tunnel and takes you up to the other side of the Glacier de Geant to the Pointe Helbronner.

It was a stunning day with gorgeous light on the midi and Sun rays peeking out behind the Dru and the Aiguille du Grépon.

First time I’ve caught the sun peeking over the trees like this. We’ve either been away too early in the morning to ski or the weather has been too claggy with no sun to be seen. This was one of my favourite Dru shots.

I’ve now got a whole stack of them and several timelapses after 4 weeks of Springtime lockdown (I think it was 4) and plenty of early mornings with coffee in the garden waiting for the sun to pop over the tree line. This one stands out due to the contrail. The Sky is normally pretty busy over the valley but the last couple of weeks of March and on into April the sight of a plane was a rare one.

During the winter months our lovely season passes get you a massive discount on the tunnel, vaguely annoying that doesn’t work in the summer but that is rather a first world problem.

The Skyway was deserted and after a bit of negotiation up we went.

If you’ve seen The Kingsman 2 .. apparently the skyway gets exploded. Our trip up was much less eventful.

The Spike in the background is the Dent de Geant. Spookily we met our aspirant Guide from the winter adventure up and over the Col de Belvedere (James Clapham) in the lift on the way down. By then he’d become a fully qualified guide and had been off with his clients to scale this beastie. I guess it might have been him striding along the Glacier in the image further up.

Makes me wonder how the guiding community is faring in this stay at home world.

A wonderfully moody Dru which works great in black & white in the evening and para gliders over the Bossons glacier.

Something home cooked for tea tonight and planning to head up the Buet valley to the Refuge de la Pierre á Bérard tomorrow. Retracing our steps from the winter to below the Col de Belvedere from the other side.

Count down to the big 50

Mysterious request from the other half for my top 20 pictures of the Dru.

I think I did well and got it down to 40 but I only went back to 2018.

Here are the top Digital Black & Whites. I think my fave B&W will always be the one taken with the OM20 and lovingly processed by Fez at https://back2blackandwhite.com/about-us

I’ll do a proper scan and share the wonder that it is very soon including the voodoo magic developing map that Fez also produced. He is a wonder.

In the mean time here are the digital lovelies .. 3 from the Olympus EM5 before it decided to have an on off hissy fit and the rest from the glorious Nikon D850. Honestly if it wasn’t such an exercise in fitness to lug the thing about the EM5 wouldn’t get a look in .. plus the D850 is not actually quite mine exactly.

Just sharing the love….

Local Pointy bits on VE Day

Not that pointy or that high but Little Solsbury hill of Peter Gabriel fame was looking lovely covered in buttercups, daisies, clover and dandelion clocks.

Got to stay round the edge at the moment as there are Skylarks nesting.

Fantastic views of Bath and a lovely sunset and a zoom with locked-down friends while we we out for some fresh air and exercise.

enjoying the portal to other worlds … she looks like me 45 years ago.

Some nice shots with the little Olympus EM5. It has decided to stop letting me turn it off or on for that matter. I have to take out the battery. A common bug apparently according to the interweb. I did a firmware update but no change.

Spurred me on to buy myself an early birthday present …. But that’s another story.

A little something from 2020

We managed an unexpectedly long stay in Chamonix this year courtesy of the new coronavirus but before the world fell off a cliff we got to do some skiing.

This is back in early Jan with some earned fluffy turns of epicness with Clive and Mike down the back of Les Grands Montets. Clive’s third time ever skinning in three days. Good man!

Day one was zero vis and then snow up from the Bochard and down the front into the Italian Bowl with a super lucky clear 5 minutes to see us down. Our reassurance of come on it’ll be fine, you wanted to have a go at touring so… might have sounded a bit thin when Mark had to look at the GPS part way up as for all we knew we could have been skinning straight up the Pendent Glacier.

Fabulous light on the dru that evening

Second skin was the Roches des Enclaves in les Contamines on a lovely sunny day so his confidence in us was somewhat recovered and he seems to have got the touring bug and I think Mark was lucky to get his R108s back.

The White Dot gang

Then day 3 up the GM again and this time caught on GoPro helmet cam.

There were plenty more adventures this season right up until the lockdown but thats another story.

Still back in 2018

After 3 months playing in the snow we couldn’t stay away. September 16th and most of the lifts have closed but still some opportunities to exploit the season pass.

Down Town
Rose at the Terrace Bar
last light and moon over the Glacier

Up earlyish the next morning and up the Flegere cable car heading for lac blanc. Hoping for pristine reflections but was a bit to windy.

Got tangled up in a flock of goats on the path. I have a couple of Black and White film photos still to be printed of that encounter. Yep dusted off the OM 20 and took it adventuring. The film is developed and have some digital scans but I really need some dedicated dark room time https://back2blackandwhite.com/

Here are some of the best shots … plenty of the Dru of course. Was strange to see the belvedere with no snow after our adventures back in the winter https://badkneeclub.com/2018/03/26/big-mountain-day-out-day-46/

Admiring the Dru
The Col de Belvedere with a lot less snow
and a very green lac blanc
Lac blanc looking blue
Some dodgy looking ladders on the way down
Completely privileged to see this file fella on the way down

And it took a lot longer to get down than planned via Argentierre. Just managed to catch the last bus back to Les Praz

waiting hopefully for the bus
The nose of the Argentiere Glacier

and rounded off with a touristy tea of tarteflette and outrageous ice cream in the Chalet Hotel Le Castel Chamonix in les Praz. Never been in there before it is bizarrely decorated if exotic fake stuffed birds.

Last light on The Dru

Plotting a trip up the skyway tomorrow. Never been up and as the Aiguille du midi lift is kaput our passes should get us up there.


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