Last week we were visiting Chamonix for a week of winter sports. We weren’t sure the skiing would be up to much as this year as there has been very little snow. So we had prepared for what might be ideal alpine winter climbing conditions. However, as it turned out there was a large dump of snow over the first weekend of our trip, and there is nothing that beats skiing fresh powder! More “Chamonix CC & Birthday Skiing”
Pete had multiple Climbers Club committee meetings this weekend in Llanberis so we packed the van and headed to North Wales on Saturday morning. More “A weekend in Snowdonia”
I’d had the week booked off from work for months, but we hadn’t got around to booking anything. More “Autumn Staycation”
After an amazing start to the summer weather in May and early June, July and August have been quite disappointing really. More wet, grey, and disappointing weather days than the proper summer sunshine we had hoped for. 🙁 However, despite that we’ve been out and about on the Lakeland crags a fair bit. 🙂 Then, as luck would have it, the August bank holiday was again (mostly) dry and sunny. Unfortunately we’ve both been ill so this held back adventures somewhat, but not completely… More “Another Dry Lakeland Bank Holiday”
After the warmest and wettest December, it’s finally turned a bit colder. We had snow. More “Bowfell”
The snow conditions were looking very poor in Chamonix with the endless sunshine in the Alps. The Atlantic frontal systems that should have been delivering frequent snow storms were being concentrated in to torrential rain over the north west of England. However, it still seemed like a better option than watching that endless rain in Cumbria…
Oddly for the time of year our first day out wasn’t the seasonally normal activity of finding our ski-legs – we went rock climbing!
After our family Xmas celebration at home we continued the fun in France with New Year…
Time to Work
Last week Ian and I went to the French Alps to get a load of apartment maintenance work done. The lounge area got a complete floor-to-ceiling paint job (there was a nasty crack in the ceiling to repair too), and Ian’s kitchen area got a new worktop…
Here’s a shot of the lounge area freshly painted and looking neat and tidy ready for guests in the forthcoming ski season…
One of the fun, or at least new to me, attributes of the journey was taking Zac to France with me. He’d had his rabies injection and was kitted out with a brand new pet passport. 😀
One irksome thing about pet travel is that despite the ferry companies not charging any more for a car with five passengers than they do for one with just one passenger (i.e. just the car is charged for) a pet costs £15 extra each way. What is that charge for? There are no special facilities provided, not even a dog walking area at the port areas. Seems like simple unashamed profiteering to me!
Before coming home we had to take Zac to a French vet (between 24 hours and 5 days before returning to the UK) to get his special worming tablet for some kind of wicked dog and cat tapeworm that isn’t present in the UK, and they want to keep it out as it’s transmissible (and can be fatal) to humans.
So all in all a bit of extra cost: rabies inoculation, pet passport, micro-chipping (if not already done as it was for us), ferry passage fees, and French worming treatment. But well worth it – having Zac with us painting, relaxing in Chamonix, running, climbing, and sharing the long drive to and from the Alps was brilliant! 😛
Time to Play
After all the maintenance works Laetitia joined us. Typical girl – swans in after all the hard work is done, strokes our egos a bit with the odd tiny compliment on the work, cracks out the gin & tonic, and then drags us out to play the next day…
Laetitia and I had already spent the previous day at the easily accessible Les Gaillands (it was easier to go there as we could take Zac!) but today all four of us went up in to the Aiguille Rouge. Ian and Zac went for a run from Plan Praz to La Flégère and Lac Blanc… Laetitia and I went for a climb…
Interestingly, I guess because it was such a wonderful and still day, there was a constant stream of BASE jumpers leaping off the top of the Brevent. Each one of them whooped as they hurtled towards the Chamonix valley. This is the first time I’ve been close enough to see wing-suit jumpers exiting. They really do “fly”. In just a couple of seconds they have picked up enough speed to inflate their suit’s wings and then they seem to shoot off horizontally at incredible speed. It looks like a fantastic buzz! But what a risk – 1 in 60 die! Take a look at this infographic…
Anyway, back to the matters in hand – climbing! A much safer activity. Oh and running, safer still!
Zac and Ian go for a Jogette
That evening poor little Zac was utterly knackered! He immediately curled up and went to sleep when he got in. A little later, when we decided to take a stroll though Chamonix to see what was going on in town, Zac was so stiff he could hardly walk. 🙁 Poor thing. But he recovered quickly and was full of energy again the next day! 😀
Time to come Home
Laetitia left Chamonix by Easy Bus to catch her Easy Jet. Ian and I settled in for one last night with a beer before the long drive home. But at 11pm we got a text message from Laetitia, her flight had been cancelled due to fog in the UK! There had been travel disruptions for a couple of days in the UK due to fog. So surely they could have predicted this and saved Laetitia the scary prospect of travelling right across Geneva to a hotel, alone, at night, and in an unfamiliar intimidating city!!! Terrible customer care.
Then to top it all, the next flight home that they could get her on wasn’t for four days!
Luckily Ian, Zac, and I drove through on a rescue mission the next morning and all four of us travelled home together. Not the journey Laetitia had planned, she missed a couple of really important business meetings thanks to Easy Jet’s ineptitude, but at least there were four of us to entertain each other and share the driving…
We met up with Helen and Mo at Shepherds today. More “Autumnal Shepherds”