Thursday, March 21, 2013

A week of anecdotes fuelled by strange incidents

Bill Mills & Greg Knott joined me for what was to prove a packed and eventful week with a sprinkling of unpredictable encounters.
We kicked off by heading over to Anzere high above Sion. We skinned up to the Audannes Hut in brutally artic conditions. We had to wear every stitch of clothing while battling up hill.

Fortunately the next day dawned bright and the wind had died. We climbed the Wildhorn in perfect weather.

The weather forecast the next day was for snow so we headed over to Italy to climb Punte Crocce. This proved to be an eventful day. We exited through the Mt Blanc tunnel to be greeted by thick snow. As we drove up to Arpy we rounded a bend to find a Fiat Punto dangling in the trees having just tobogganed over a precipice. There were many Italians jumping up and down and from what we could see our assistance wasn't necessary.

Around the next corner we were greeted by a coach which had slid down the road sideways [but hadn't actually left the road.] However its passengers had abandoned it and were flooding down the road in what was an apocalyptic scene. One particular women was having a full blown panic-attack which seemed to be having a domino effect on everyone else.

Clearly they needed help but they couldn't get any mobile reception and so I offered to use my Police Radio. Having summoned help we left as fast as we could, unfortunately this was not as fast as we would have liked because it was necessary to put the chains on the Land Rover.[Something I have never had to do on a Tarmacked road such were the treacherous conditions]

Eventually we skinned up the start of the climb but at the lake there was just too much snow and we decided to judiciously turn around and [ski waist deep powder]back to the Land Rover. Here we put the extra set of chains on the back wheels too.

The next day we decided to ski in Courmayeur. It was shut due to too much snow. We headed to La Thuile where it was open but there was still enormous amounts of snow. Unless we found somewhere steep it was practically impossible to move.

On our final day we went to ski in Combloux/Giettaz. This was exceptionally good with near perfect conditions of acres and acres of fresh snow, no one around and beautiful weather. The only problem was that the whole of the Aravis was hit by an electricity power cut which shut the lifts leaving us stranded in Giettaz. Fortunately we had our skins.

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