Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Ski Season Ends abruptly.

The weather messed with our plans again. Peter Folkman and I had a plan to traverse the Eastern Oberland on skis. The weather had different ideas. There was just one day of good weather forecast. We decided to go skiing on Grands Montets. The previous day it had snowed and there was the rumor of very good powder skiing high up.
Unfortunately this was just a rumor and the first run off the top was horrible. Luckily the snow softened up and we did end up having several very good runs and certainly better than the skiing parachutist who seemed to have not seen the cliff.

The skiing down the Argentiere glacier was excellent.

This was to be the last of the good weather. We decided on a radical plan. Ditch the skis and head south to Provence for some rock climbing. Four hours after leaving Chamonix we were in Orpierre complaining about being too hot and smearing our selves in sun cream.
Orpierre is one of Europes key place s for rock climbing.

We booked into the Cean Hotel about 5 km outside Orpierre. The hotel is run by the brother of Luc Alphand the famous French ski racer. It is a good place to stay and even better it serves the family beer : Biere Alphand which we road tested and found to be excellent.

The next day it rained. Then some more. This was the start of the rain that caused flooding in the Chamonix area, plus big full depth avalanches which closed the Montenvers railway. We visited Sisteron and took a look around the Citadel. Well worth a visit.

The next day the weather was great and we climbed on the Quatre heures crag.
The desecent involved a free rappel
After the climbing we drove to Buis Les Baronnies. We found a hotel and went out for dinner in the bustling center of town.
On the Sunday we climbed the one of the classic routes of the area Les Trous on the impossing Saint Julien crag which dominates the local land scape.

On the Monday we decided to climb the new via ferrata which had recently been built. It boasts that it is one of the finest in France. Certainly it is well conceived and well built. Plus the views all around are spectacular.
Once we had finished it was back to the car for the drive back up to Geneva so that Peter could catch his flight home. I then drove back to Chamonix [where it was still raining.]

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