9am hellbroner on a mission with Luca Pandolfi , strong wind and cold at 3500M. I am delighted when i see Francois Thevenet and Arthus on their first beer at the bar up top. It is easy for me to call it off and start chillin’ . That is until we see Tof Henri, Seth Morrison and Nate Wallace annihilating the entreve face. Every body/Luca freaks out and in less than 5 mins all my cozy plans of hanging out at the bar by the fire place with cigs the cat and beers vanished. I am now braving the minus 50c (-1) wind and climbing M6 (M0) to get to that face. It is all great, i am dreaming of those big big turns in perfect champagne powder all the way… Well, those top gun riders made it look like perfect champagne snow , the reality was more variable than that and with sharks. SO those big 5 flawless turns turned into 15 maybe…im floating 98 underfoot these days. that is. Good fun. The rest of the descent to the mid station was on refrozen stuff mostly which made the all day seems/feel big…
A lot of good skiing to be had up there. Big and steep or not. We chose not. Wandering.
Back to La Palud , Coffee with luisa and straight into the little tin can. The only skiers are me , ben, francois and Casa…It is still summer on the entire lower part , chamois are happily getting fat and we hope the second half will have enough snow to get a few free ride turns. Not. It is thin , too thin to even try. There is surely 2 or 3 good turns. that is it. We go on a stroll to look at the higher world. It is white and red . Everything. beauty. If you enjoy ice axes, crampons and jump turns…it is your season!
As skiers we dream when we see those beautiful pictures in Svalbard or Baffin Island. The climate change and global warming is about to change everything about it. From oil rigs to world trade arctic new route is about to destroy all of it faster than we think. Sooner we will look at pictures of skiers skinning up black ice on baffin island with oil rigs as scenics. When we buy stuff made in “slave world” we agree with that status quo . BUY made in “local”
“”It’s not going to be me revoutionizing any new tech for lower emissions or sustainable energy. But I can be mindful of my own impact and do what I can to reduce it when possible and make smart decisions. But as a consumer I don’t know where I am allowed to stand. When I fill up my car and plug in my computer, or buy toxics clothes, I don’t feel like I am part of the solution. Everyone’s some part of the status quo. But that absolutely does not mean we forfeit our agency to change the situation. “
When we buy stuff made in “slave world” we agree with that status quo .
this is the results of sending our dirty industries and toxic trash in china. because it is far and cheap “the age of stupid” …
BUY made in “local”
Si vous voulez voir la nature belle et vierge comme une fiancée, allez là par un jour de printemps ; si vous voulez calmer les plaies saignantes de votre cœur, revenez-y par les derniers jours de l’automne ; au printemps, l’amour y bat des ailes à plein ciel, en automne on y songe à ceux qui ne sont plus.
Le Lys dans la vallée de Honoré de Balzac
[ Balzac ]
Every autumn i go on a work/meditation retreat off the grid deep in the california woods. it is always a very good time to think and ponder. After a couple of weeks my friend Huevos rushed to me with what he could get from a one bar connection on his phone about a very bad news concerning my friends JP Auclair, Andreas Fransson and Bjarne Sahlen. We couldn’t get more than a random page announcing briefly the confirmed death of Andreas and JP. Frustration was high as we couldn’t get anymore info than that. what happened? Bjarne? what the fuck. A month prior i was at a bbq at Fransson with Bjarne and they talked about their chilean project. There was no immediate plans to get down to connections so i just swallowed the news , deep. From deep , there is a howling of sadness… the tears… The tears have not yet been on the outside. I am around people, and I don’t want to be comforted. They don’t know them . Not letting them out. They might come later, the tears. But for now they stop inside, leaving my eyes glossy. Moments come in my mind, those times spent with fransson at the top of the aiguille du midi waiting for windows, remembering his advises and betas on huge runs then rarely skied, remembering the west face of mont blanc and the eugster i would not have skied had he not told /encourage me “you should go you can do it” .
It is so unfair.
Fransson is known as a punk ass skier for his descent of denali or other “no future” type endeavor. Since he started his guide program and met his girlfriend Ali he was tamed. Cautious. Extremely experienced.Focused on details. safe. more conservative in his choices.
i remember meeting jp 5 years ago in cham during the shoot of “ordinary skier” . He was the most unusual pro skier/park head jibber i met. Not looking the part: discreet, smart, well travelled, intelligent, artsy, well read, creative , humble. I remember him telling me how scared he was of alaska and powder, avalanches. I saw him many times after: cragging in cham , I was there on his first descent of the mallory…Later I waited for him when he skied the frendo with fransson in a white out whilst we skied the eugster that day and we all met at the bottom drinking beer.
he just had a baby.
Later, My friend Huevos said it looks like something happened to a “liz “ as well. We couldn’t get more on the short connection. just someone posted ” bye Liz” on Facebook. I immediately thought of Liz Daley but i knew she wasn’t with Fransson. she is in cham climbing “spliiiitttttters” with her newly fiance and good friend of mine Davide Demasi AKA Diamond. I saw them 20 days ago, at a welcome to cham Liz BBQ.
We all decided to go eat pizza in town. Alleluya, connection. I couldn’t wait any longer. The first post i see is the one from Diamond announcing Liz daley’s death. I couldn’t hold it anymore and bursted in tears for a minute in the rough neck scene i am in. pretty. …fuckin hell.
Liz Daley. really?
This is beyond fucked up.
She was so conservative in her choices , she was so safe. I always enjoyed the contrast with her girly manners in a brutal environment, she was always so pro. I was angry when she told me she had to switch from patagonia to Eddie Bauer because patagonia wouldn’t put her on payroll. Why?. She was so good at advertising , her numerous post on TGR were brilliant LINK, full of life, fun. Her few videos were so lively and funny. She was no Peterson but heck, most of us can identify with doing our toe nails at the base of denali more than G-s-ing massive faces in AK. Anyways.
It doesn’t matter. She is dead now.
I am crushed.
3 good people are gone. Again. it is redundant . too many. The usual “ he died doing what he loved” gets me pissed off. it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Andreas said” there are no good reason to die for but the mountains gives me a reason to live for” Ok, fine. My parents who see the numerous dead people post on Facebook dont understand at all. They are worried. I am confused. It is snowing now in cham . I am not excited . whatever. yes . it is snowing. The only thing that keep me skiing isn’t skiing anymore .per say. It is just the people i meet. Without skiing i would not have met such unique characters like JP, Andreas and Liz. This is about the people, those moments. What i remember most are those times spent with people before and after skiing. the skiing is always good, it is just skiing. I am pissed off at skiing right now. …
In La Kesh
A FEW PICTS
I don’t have pictures of JP but here a video he made whilst skiing the frendo/ eugster. It shows his creativity and what he could do with just some go pro footage. So much richer and elaborate than what you usually see coming from the usual ski hipster- pro-park-freeride-facebook-instagram crowd nowadays …
i build more cairns at the signal every time we loose someone…
Luca Pandolfi called me up in the midst of a hot humid rainy mid summer period telling me we should go ski Lyskam. It is an amazing face in a zone i havent been so I dug out what i could find of my ski kit under- way- under the summer junks. Upon our arrival to the refuge, a picture of the face got me somewhat pessimistic, it looked like the rain had crusted the bottom half of the face. This is the type of face you want to ski with good big powdery turns, fluidly (or else you didn’t really ski it) … not really a jump turn- sideway skiing type thing. That said because of that: (what some would call) “snobbism” , i still havent skied the Couturier or the Gervasutti. On our way, we met with friends-ski world -movers and shakers joe vallone, PTOR and glen Plake who shared the same dreams . awesome!. At the summit , we made a few turns down the benedetti line on the N.face until we realized it was really gonna be miserable another 200 meters down. So we climbed back up and skied the other side. Oh well. im glad i saw that zone, a must do. I enjoy that kind of summer ski mission
The rest of August was unstable and rainy and crowded.I barely had windows to take my bike out on my days off. Dreaming i am getting dusted on the black rock desert celebrating hedonism. .