Nothing really happened this summer , i worked mostly . 2 Jobs. Nothing happened Except it was the driest hottest summer i experienced in 15 years . The most crowded also. Probably the coldest for the rest of our lives . The mountains didn’t look happy and healthy. The cabane de la fourche fell down. A lot of things fell down . Sweden voted a (literal) Nazi party as leadership. Italy voted a fascist one . Russia. well. Russia. Anyways . the most beautiful thing was also the simplest : The ascension festival at the cabane du cerro. This was organic . Awesome. beautiful people . Cozy atmosphere . And all. As the world is crumbling apart we need more of those things.
Some photos .
The ascension festival at the cabane du cerro was by far the best festival and party I have been to in my 15 years chamoniards existence. I’ve discovered local talents musicians painters speakers crafters chef wine makers I didn’t know existed.
A revolution was happening in this little ghostly corner of the valley and most people didn’t know about it .
The caban du cerro is older than us all , built when the bosson glacier was still alive and well . It belongs to the people of chamonix , the mayor and team vote every 6 years? or so whose project manages it .
The past years local environmental warrior and social cohesion hero Timothé was in charge of it . He transformed this little cabin into a heaven where local artists could show off their work to a crowd eating food produced almost exclusively on site . And let me be clear , in todays complete biosphere disaster lead by rogue capitalism, to transform a piece of rugged forested hills old moraine into a sustainable permaculture garden able to feed a clientele enjoying local artistry and culture all of which mentioned in the Gault et Millau guide is nothing less than a revolutionary act . Unfortunately, the elected right wing politics hate revolution. Unless it brings profits. Lots of it . So this sustainable and financially sound cultural garden of Eden was voted out to be replaced by a perfect MBA project supposedly super profitable .
So, The Cerro team decided to make a 5 days festival on their way out with all the people who participated in this adventure patrons and artists .
This was good .
La culture est l’heritage de la noblesse du monde
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.
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…
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.
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.
this is Alex father watching the descent a little stressed.
Back in Chamonix , My friend from San Fransisco was at my flat for another day so i took him down the cosmique back to cham via the junction. The cosmic had been tracked and was OK but the junction was all time …what a beautiful way to come back and a memorable last day for my friend.
next day 10 of us took a heli up the petit mont blanc to ski the super classic bonatti couloir to celebrate our friend lionel hatchemi aka so-connard birthday . A classic day. so-local. next morning was hang over day.
we went with tof henry to try to shoot something nice but it wasn’t in the way we wanted.
it is a sweet delicacy to dive neck deep in fluffy snow after such a dark and heavy period where the French were hit at the very heart of their laic culture of blasphemy and irreverence towards the rich-powerful sacred and not , they were hit deep in the altar giving us corrosive and offensive humour targeting the absurdities of our world. The leftists French laic will remain impertinent and insolent against power , tyranny and intolerance sacred or not …hopefully.
One classic grand montet storm day followed by one classic la palud blue bird day were perfect to forget this absurd world. Powder all the way.
A shameless storm day At Grand Montet
Irreverent face shots
An Offensive day in la Palud, Italy
A lot of good skiing to be had up there. Big and steep or not. We chose not. Wandering.
between the rain and the job; Some climbing, biking…
I am working night shift so I am waking up to this everyday…
I’am glad ski season is over. The relentless mind dithering- i want to go i dont want to go dont go go go no yes no -was driving me crazy. The slow cotemplative pace of climbing, the safety of the rope just feels better for now. i suck at climbing but i like it.
eperon des cosmique. voie rebuffat
It is always good to have someone under 25 years old you can send first in that situation…Ben Briggs was the kid today although …I had to clean the south ridge myself. And you always need a virgin , It was Chris Cabanilla first midi run, so… … Its good and wild out there!
send the kids first
and the virgin: Christian cabanilla looking good.
I cranked up the saturation to see their bright jacket!
No pictures on a 80cm fresh layer . my lens was foggy on a good shot.
the spring weather patterns are making the weatherman look like a hysterical junky who took a bunch of acid before writing his forecast. However, we found a window big enough for a kaw-aw-wing crowmonkey, a growling goat, a punkviking a few frenchies some yankees ..later followed by more vikings and one south african.
BEST cosmique EVER.5 stars. My friend Kevin is here for (only) another 3 days. a trip to cham isnt a trip to cham if you dont “DO” the cosmique. right?. whatever. we went there because we like it that way. too. And maybe …It could have been really good. like one of those days. surprise. no. IT was marginal. completely un -even and disfigured dismembered of sort. I and Mark still managed to enjoy it and Kevin did really good on his first marginal cosmique run . I dont remember the last time i had to traverse all the way to mid, looks like it sucks on a snowboard. Did I mention we were the only ones there? In april? blue bird powder day? that is 5 stars. (just a bunch of fuckin pussies)