We live close to the bottom of Solsbury hill.. yes that’s the one in the Peter Gabriel song. It’s official name is little Solsbury hill. While confined to our local area during the various lockdowns and travel restrictions it became a favourite little amble and clamber onto the trig point.

In January this year while walking up there with a friend, she said you must have scaled the height of Everest with the number of ups you have done.

So began the Solsbury hill official tracking of 56 ascents.

Clearly we have to start at sea level so it will take 34 ups to get to base camp at 5400m. Our house is at 30m and Solsbury hill summit is 190m so we figured net up (ignoring the odd down and up in between is 160m)

From sea level to base camp and to the summit = 56 x Solsbury hill from our house

To make an ascent official there needs to be a record, obviously, so maybe I actually did more than 56 but only those with a pic or video clip counted. Also as we decided the first official ascent happened on 8th May 2020 (the first one of the first lockdown) there needed to be some way to remember when the ups had happened.

Ascent #1 – the first of a few zoom gatherings.

Don’t panic I am not going to post 56 pics or video clips.

Ascent #2 coincided with the big 50

Ascent #2 although i didn’t know that at the time

August 7th ascent #14 and a timelapse sunset. Not long before we are reaching Lukla the start of the trek to base camp.

In the end the rest of August, September and October saw zero ascents so reaching the start of the main trek was rather delayed.

Lukla at 2850m was reached on Christmas morning (Ascent #18)

A glorious Christmas morning trying to forget we were supposed to be elsewhere with family. Ascent #18 & arrival at Lukla.

Cheating a little bit on New year’s eve as we had a fireworks show to do from half way up so we didn’t actually walk from the bottom but we made it to the top for some great shots of the show.

Ascent #19 more or less

Base camp was reached on 6th March 2021

Base camp on 6th March ascent #34

I made it to Camp 1 on ascent #38 on 15th March

Camp 1 15th March ascent #38

The milestones coming thick and fast with Camp 2 at 640o m on the 17th March and Camp 3 on the 23rd and into the Death zone at Camp 4 on 4th April, way ahead of schedule to make the summit within the year of the first ascent on 8th May last year.

camp 2 ascent #40
Camp 3 ascent #43
Camp 4 ascent #50 in the death zone

I summited on 18th April accompanied by some fellow mountaineers courtesy of the rule of 6.

Thanks for the loan of the flag – Ascent #56

Since then there have been several more ups but I have stopped keeping track. Seems fitting to close this blog entry with another birthday celebration and sunset one year on from ascent #2.

This time with a few more people for company.

Fresh tracks all day in Les Contamines

Day 83 and the promised snow has arrived

The Garden is fluffy and white again.

It snowed

Rather than wait for the GM to be made safe and then brave the busy we headed to Les Contamines.

Blue sky, sunshine and fresh tracks all day. Not bad for the end of March.


Only a handful of days left now as we head into April so we’d better make them action packed.

Day 81. Laps of the hearse

Day 81 and back at the GM.

Day 81 and the 29th March. I am actually writing this on 28th March 2020, 2 years later but in the same location under COVID-19 lockdown.  It’s strange looking back at these pictures not only because there was just so much snow compared to this year but the whole surreal world of social distancing, self isolation and having to fill in a form to self certify you’re going out on sanctioned missions.

Anyway back to 2018 and ….

How many laps of the hearse lift is it possible to do in one day. Probably more than 5 but in our defence we snuck in a loop to the top. Oh those were the days when there was an actual lift.

20180329 - Grands Montets

Got home to signs of spring with this wee fella in our tree.


And of course the Dru including a moonlight encounter.


Check out 

 For the timelapse of the moon over the Dru.

Only a handful of days left of our season back in 2018. Right now in 2020 it looks like we’ll be here a while longer.






Day 80 and off to Les Saisies

Clive of day 5 and beyond fame was in Les Saisies, just down the road with his family and friends so we popped down for a little ski and pizza and spoon balancing.

Great fun in woo wah land with its bumps and twists, tunnels and things to bash.  There is some fun footage of Clive & friends kids but posting will have to wait until some editing is finished. We certainly covered some miles.

20180327 - Les Saisies

Day 81 and back in Chamonix tomorrow.

A Long weekend

Entertaining guests

So we knew that having Chris, Rich Joop & Karen for the weekend was going to be action packed but not sure I was quite prepared for …

Day 75 The Col De La Fenetre Tour in les Contamines

20180322 - Col de la Fenetre

We saw a great snake of people heading off this way when we did the Roche des Enclaves but we never really found a good opportunity to fit it in so good excuse to do it now.

A fairly easy up .. Oh my what have I become! …. a few nice turns on the top section then honestly it got pretty nasty slushy but super beautiful and great company.


Thanks to Chris for some of these fab images.

I must say was a super scenic lunch spot.


The toboggan track which was the zig zag road down to the church was an icy knee screamer in places but we all made i down in one piece.


Day 76 a failed attempt at the Valle Blanche

Thanks to it being far too popular so about face to the GM for a lap or two of the top lift and a little up close and personal withe the Glacier. Again thanks to Chris for some great shots.

it was a very fine alternative to the VB and I added some more amazing Italian Bowl ridge shots to my portfolio thanks to some very co-operative subjects.

We’re going to try for the VB again tomorrow as looks to be promising yet another blue sky day.

Day 77 better luck with the VB and ski Guide me! what could go wrong

And we’re on .. A few too many cups of coffee involving DIY by the cafe owners to get thier door open . I think we might have bee trapped inside but fortunately a bit of bodge-it and scarper drilling antics later and up the lift we go.

Oh and Joop and Karen made the Lift station square very stylish.


Do you think now was a good time to tell them I was leading the way back down?

The plan was to stick to the same route done with Olivier and Colin in Feb and it is a pretty popular one and as long as we stayed on the obvious well trodden path the risk of a FUp was minimal.

Mind you if they wanted to do the JB track they were on their own. Once in a lifetime was enough for me thanks plus I reckoned the snow would run out about half way down.

Chris & Mark pretty much ran down the Arete in their fancy crampons, Rich was the rope anchor at the back leaving me to pick my way down with Karen and Joop in between us. We all made it down big relief all round.

Again some great Arete antics shots from Chris. It always looks so crazy busy then as everyone spreads out it is much less like the M4 at rush hour than you’d think it would be.

Safely down so ….. Parallel ski, bend ze knees, follow me ….

A fantastic time was had by all despite the occasional icy moguls the size of small houses and no-one fell in a crevasse which was a bonus.

20180324 - Vallee Blanche

I found myself some new wheels back in Chamonix


And the Midi & the Dru were fine sights in the evening light.

Day 78 an apparently mini tour from Combloux

The Petit Criosse Baulet or Creme brulee as it will now be known. Crusty on the top and soft and sticky underneath.

20180325 - Petit Croisse Baulet Skin - 1.75hrs 322m20180325 - Combloux20180325 - Petit Croisse Baulet

And a small frantic search for passports in the car park and off to the airport they went .. I need a day off.

Fortunately the weather is due to return so fingers crossed a lazy day is on the cards.


Day 74 in Les Contamines

La A mini adventure

Les Contamines rarely disappoints  so off we went for a change of scenery.

A morning Dru complete with Cosmic rays and we hit the road.


We’ve always wondered what happens if you head off the top of the buche Croisee… lift and instead of doing the Les Roches Des Enclaves tour or the Col de La Fenetre you just head down and round.

20180321 - Les Contamines

Proper picturesque if a bit crusty on top to make the turns a bit of a challenge.

Visitors showing up tonight for a long weekend of epicness.

Here comes the snow again

18th March and the GM calls and I think it’s day 71

20180318 - Grands Montets

I think over the last 3 months we have covered almost every inch. 2 laps of the top today plus a sneaky italian bowl enjoying some amazing powdery deeps.

The day kicked off with a fabulous good morning from the Dru complete with her own shadows in the clouds.


Then off we go …

I’ll never get bored of it up here.

These days (2019) this is only possible with some self propelled up thanks to the fire at the GM mid station and the cables for the top cable car melting. I’ll post a few snaps of our 2018 pre Christmas visit soon. Mixed feelings about the lack of lift .. bloody hard work unless you are super fit (which I’m not) to get up there but not that many people bother so .. just Wow! on the way down.

Catching up

Day 67 & 68 With Mike & Angela

OK so it’s been a long old time since we got back from our 3 months in Chamonix and we are plotting the next stint but no time like the present to catch up on the last 20 or so days of fun.

Day 67 saw Mike, Angela & I smashing up the well tracked powder on the GM in the Sun.


Back in time for an evening Dru


Then the weather closed in the next day so nothing for is but a foggy skin up the track at Les Houches with Adrian back with us and leading the way. I can’t believe I’m saying it but the up was so much better than the down.  I am allergic to post slush frozen pistes in the morning and slushy horror shows in the afternoon.

Totally earned the tarte aux framboises.




our house building blog


This mountain life .. trying to stay up on the downs and survive the ups.

Discover WordPress

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.