Winter Skills on Helvellyn

Last Sunday I was up early to meet Joe and his large group of 14 people in Glenridding for a day looking at winter skills, ice axe arrest, and a wintry scramble up Swirral Edge to the summit of Helvellyn. The forecast wasn’t great, but it could have been worse, and in the end it was actually not that bad with a fair few spells of clearish weather to give the clients the odd spectacular views of Lakeland in winter.

Getting ready and sharing our ice axes and stiff winter boots for the clients
Practising ice axe arrest skills before climbing on to Helvellyn
The gang at the summit trig point of Helvellyn

Unsurprisingly Laetitia didn’t want to get up before the sun and join us on Helvellyn. Although to be honest I think Zac would have struggled with the conditions! So while I was working and playing in the snow Laetitia and Zac went off to Keswick and took in a scenic short walk around and near Derwent Water…

Meanwhile Laetitia and Zac went for a pleasant walk around Derwent Water and Keswick

Wintry hike up Stony Cove Pike

Laetitia and the view from Threshthwaite Mouth down in to Threshthwaite Cove and Ullswater beyond
Zac and Pete on their way up Stony Cove Pike
Pete checking out the route from Stony Cove Pike down in to the quiet Woundale
Amazing sunset colours and shadows on the Kentmere horseshoe skyline as we descended back to Troutbeck

Cheeky Chamonix Break

We took advantage of a rendezvous with Dawn and Austin for a cheeky long weekend of skiing for Laetitia, this was followed by “a wee bit longer” for the boyz!

A big gang out for dinner at Munchies
Pete, Jon, and Dave on the lift ready for 2018’s episode of “Dangerous Skiing”

I’ve entered the Marmotte 2018!

The 2017 Etape du Tour was an utterly incredible day! And the build up and training that got me to the finish line was fantastic too. So for 2018 I decided I should do something similar… More “I’ve entered the Marmotte 2018!”

BMC Lundy Festival 2017

Lundy is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most lovely destinations. It has so much to offer everyone in so many different ways! And not just climbers – ornithologists, marine life lovers, ecologists, people with interests in historic places, those who just want to escape to somewhere quiet with no traffic, etc., etc! More “BMC Lundy Festival 2017”

Champagne & the Great War – weird extremes, Luxury & Suffering

On the way home from the Briançon we broke the journey down by calling in on the Champagne region to find out if any deals were to be had. They were! We grabbed a box of six bottles of Canard – Duchêne for much much less than we pay back in the UK. 🙂

Pete and Zac trying to decide if life would be better if we drank champagne every day?
Grape vines destined to become Canard-Duchene champagne!

We stayed the night for free in one of those amazing French municipal aire camping sites, then our plan was to go on to explore a few of the Great War memorial sites the next day. With the centenary of the end of the Great War getting so close it seemed pertinent that we finally gave some time to explore this area having passed it by so many times…

I think everyone should be made to spend a short while in this area. It is incredibly sobering to get just the merest of feelings of what it was like, how many people died, and what we have today in part thanks to these sacrifices.

The only tree, a hornbeam, to survive the devastation at Devil’s Wood

Now they are almost tranquil amongst the replanted trees, imagine fighting in these trenches – a couple of feet deeper, reinforced with wood, steel, sandbags, etc. and with bullets flying overhead, shells exploding all around and with the mud etc. then raining down – what a life, or death.

It makes me mad that one of the biggest peace projects of all time – the European Union – is being threatened by shallow minded and bitter baby-boomers who will throw this all away, at any cost, to service their misguided (and lied to) impressions.

l’Etape du Tour 2017

To try and gain some altitude acclimatisation in preparation for the l’Étape du Tour, I’d cycled up to the Col du Galibier (2642m) from La Grave, did a high level ridge walk from the Col de Granon, climbed a ten pitch rock climb that started at 2189m, and finished by sleeping the night at the 2413m high Col de Granon. Could I have done more? Maybe. But that was it now, after starting my training at the end of April the morning of the race had arrived… More “l’Etape du Tour 2017”