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North Cal

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US-101

In my 20 years in the US west coast i have never been up the 101 freeway past eureka. I took advantage of a 10 days vacation to go on road trip from eureka to port angeles at the end of the 101. From there I took the 20 east and the scenic north cascade freeway . Then the 5 freeway fast down back to California. In 1500 miles I encountered only one city-portland, absolute amazing wilderness, whales, many sunsets , full moon and the bird. It was a spectacular road trip. I have a few shots taken on the way…Next is carry on to Canada …

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

the view from michael “bird”shaffer house, in twisp

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

the bird house

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

shower around twisp

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

winthrop

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

north cascade road

view

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

rainier from port townsend

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chris riding in the woods by garberville

chris riding in the woods by garberville

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

leavenworth

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

twisp

twisp, washington, 101, 20, USA, west,

twisp

michael shaffer . our shower

michael shaffer . our shower

rainier from port townsend

rainier from port townsend

Namibia

To get away from it all i opted to volunteer and work toward conservation , rehabilitation and research at the N/a’an ku sê foundation in Namibia. Go on their site at http://naankuse.com , they describe their mission and goal, very impressive. I was introduced to it via the great projects who specialize in volunteering trips around the world
I spent a little time at the sanctuary a 3200 hectare property sanctuary for animals in need of rescue, rehabilitation and sometimes relocation. Food prep, animal walk, game count , set up camera trap, animal feed, are a few of the the thing to do there.

Then i went to the very scenic and impressive Kanaan Desert location , 33000 hectares to establish there an unfenced wildlife reserve, which is based on scientific and sustainable management practices and which provides refuge for a suite of endangered species such as cheetah and hyena. The work there are taking down fences, game count, camera trap management, data processing, locate hyaenas , cheetahs or leopard tracks, poop or marking in order to define a pattern , install a camera trap and connect the dots…the project there is mostly on assessing the population of spotted hyaenas outside of game park.

after that i went to the neuras conservation and wine estate, 14,500 hectare. A sort of oasis in the desert with a vineyard , the longest canyon in the world. The work there was mostly like at kanaan, walk a lot and figure out the hyaenas. Study that hasn’t been done since the 90’s…how many hyaenas outside of game park?

It was an amazing and fulfilling time with amazing people, animals and scenics. A much better option, i think, than expensive safaris or backpacking in that region. It is also sending a positive sign to the tourist industry in regions where there is still wild life and must be protected.
My experience in namibia with locals as well as participating in conservation was far more enriching than any backpacking trip i did anywhere in the world. Tourism and backpacking is to me so passè and overrated . Participating is much better than just being a consumer…the great projects organizations has many trips around the world where you can participate and mix it up with locals as well as learn and have an over all good time. Visit them…

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

zebras

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

pool

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

river

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

river

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

dead vlei

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

dead vlei

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

dead vlei

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

dead vlei

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

dead vlei

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

viyard

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia highway

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

pizza night

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

braai

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

braai

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

sandboard

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

breakfast

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

oryx

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

oryx

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

spring box

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

springbox

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

oryx

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

oryx

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

ostrich

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

oryx

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

vervet monkey

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

vervet monkey

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

samira was brought in young, people kept her as pet and fed her veggies and dog food. cheetahs are strictly carnivores …she was malnourished. she is now the oldest cheetah with the loudest purr

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

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namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

wild dog

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

this is gobelina....brought to the sanctuary as a part of 5 lions . gobelina and male had to be separated , they were fighting. then a honey badger cut meatballs balls. Meat ball died of infection.

this is gobelina….brought to the sanctuary as a part of 5 lions . gobelina and male had to be separated , they were fighting. then a honey badger cut meatballs balls. Meat ball died of infection.

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

leopard

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

jackal

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

gobelina....part of 5 lions . 2 males 3 females. gobelina and meatball own enclosure . meatball attacked by a honey badger who cut off his balls. died from infection.

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

namibia, africa, naankuse, wild, cedric bernardini, kanaan

views

texture, snow, glacier, mont blanc,

skier

dent du géant, grande jorasse, chamonix, aiguille du midi,

dent du géant, grande jorasse,

track, mont blanc, glacier, crevasse, skier

track

texture, snow, glacier

texture

montenver

this was probably the last valley blanche/grand enver of the season and it was damn good. !

ski bum, montenver, valley blanche , aiguille du midi, chamonix

mid may valley blanche

aiguille du midi. stormy.

scary mob

scary mob

aiguille du midi

aiguille du midi

seth morrison, ally watson, michael shaffer

seth morrison, ally watson, michael shaffer

a bird

a bird

aiguille du midi

aiguille du midi

seth morrison

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dave searle

dave searle

seth morrison, ally watson, michael shaffer

seth morrison, ally watson, michael shaffer

lurking

I hung out at the top of the aiguille du midi . That is all.

Climbers on the cosmic ridge

cosmique ridge

cosmique ridge

people walking on the white desert toward the refuge des grand mulets and mont blanc summit

voie normal mont blanc

voie normal mont blanc

By far my favorite ski run.the south west face of les droites. Not the hardest, steepest or most bad ass by today’s standard but my favorite. One of my ambition was to climb the north face and ski that face. Never found the partner to do it with…

west face les droite

west face les droite

the tour ronde north face with all the satellites : adolphe rey, or de siam, capucin. great memories, great summits, great climbs. and ski.

north face tour ronde, pointe adolphe rey, grand capucin

north face tour ronde, pointe adolphe rey, grand capucin

dent du géant

dent du géant

dent du géant

skiers in the rond

skiers in the rond

skiers

skiers

cervin, grand combin, triolet

cervin, grand combin, triolet

choucas

choucas

radness

radness

mont blanc du tacul

mont blanc du tacul

shaffer

shaffer

And of course, a wing suit pilot jumped…

wing suit. aiguille du midi

wing suit. aiguille du midi

Refuge des grand Mulets

the refuge des grand mulets is one of my favorite refuge. Sitting on a rock at 3000 meters in an ocean of chaos. It is on the original itinerary of Mont blanc summit and now is used mostly by skiers in spring. I may do a trip there this year. most likely.

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steeps

This past 20 days i haven’t skied at all but the conditions were all time and i watched the history of steep skiing unfold …it was very entertaining. The cult of self providing 3 min bad video footages and mostly bad pictures of everyone’s steep descents all over the social medias. While it was all bad quality it was showing a nice view of the steep skiing phenomena …I was baffled by the amount of good alpinists and skiers tackling 5.4 and 5.5 runs all over the mont blanc massif. I lived in chamonix for 10 years , not an alpinist, it took me 4 years before i could get on the north faces of the midi or runs on the argentiere basin north faces. I never heard of anyone skiing the north faces of the midi or the col de la verte within my first 4 years. Today with the new gear technology, every alpinists can ski and every skier is better. It takes less than a season learning skiing for an alpinist to tackle a 5.4 run which on an alpinist point of view is just a easy descent they usually run down on crampons. I saw young skiers skiing the mallory on their first season in chamonix (with a friend alpinist or guide) . So, anytime things are good (global warming helping), people line up on every run. This past 20 days was the biggest so far with every ski runs in the argentiere basin north face skied by minimum 10 people, sometime 20 people or more , the aiguille du plan north faces , pain de sucre, frendo, all the runs on the aiguille du midi skied by many. Most with huge G.S turns at mack2. Amazing. If, people were less competitive, less self centered, the medias/industry more unifying, interested and honest, the best ski movie of all time could have been made this steep season including rock star pros as well as struggling sponsored dirt bags and all the other passionate freaks. Instead, we will hear about some privileged prefabricated super hero athletes skiing whatever something in the alps or exotic location in a fabricated story with all sort of superlatives and logos claiming first decent of a 30 meters variations … I randomly stumbled on the descent of the Nant blanc by Alex Pittin, tony Lamiche and Hélias Millerioux. The nant blanc face is the most impressive, intimidating , steep and exposed face visible from the valley. The climbing is a D+ the skiing a 5.5. It  was first skied by J.M Boivin in june 1989, repeated on snowboard by Marco Siffredi in june 1999. repeated again by Pierre Tardivel and Stephane Brosse in june 2009 and then by 2 of the T-crew  and more (?). This mid April, Pittin (ex world cup skier) with tony Lamiche (guide, 9A rock climber ,  alpinist, skier) and Hélias Millerioux (guide, top alpinist, hangs out on Nupse with colin haley and ueli steck) were the first on this face, arguably the most beautiful face visible from the valley. I enjoyed the descent with Alex pittin’s father who was a little stressed and I took some photos. It was very nice. A very clean descent from first bin grand montet on sight. I’ve never been interested in skiing that face myself. I would need an alpinist for partner on that one. But you never know, 5 years from now, that face might get good from january on, until then ,  this face will get skied a lot more in the next month or so…

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This is the argentiere basin north faces , All those approximate red lines show the ski runs, in the past 20 days , each one of those receive between 10 to 30 skiers.

argentiere basin

argentiere basin

 

 

this is the top of the aiguille verte, on the top left you can see 3 skiers going up. they skied down the couturier (i saw 9 skiers that day going that way). on the right of the calotte, you can see  helias millerious,tony lamiche,  alex pittin getting involved in the Nant blanc face.

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

 

 

this is Alex father watching the descent a little stressed.

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nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant  blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nan blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin

nant blanc, helias millerious,tony lamiche, alex pittin