... the thing about living out of a van for 4 weeks, is that its hard to keep up to date with things ...
... its a good job that alison doesn't live in a van and has internet connection ...
... so, here's alison's blog on the famous patrouille des glaciers 2012 ...
... normal service will resume on thursday ...
Monday, 30 April 2012
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
We had planned to spent 2 nights at the lofty height of c.3900m but were chucked out yesterday due to imminent doom with regards to windage.
It's probably a good job too, since Catrin had only taken 2 thermal tops with her and within 10 hours had managed to pour her dinner and breakfast over both of them. On a positive note, she wasn't sick :)
Back in the sunny valley now looking forward to a hot date with the iron and the wax.
PDG2012 starts today with Z1 (hopefully) departing this evening from 2100.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Well, not all great plans turn out a success.
The Plan: A quick skin into the Monte Rosa hut followed by a quick skin up a couple of peaks this morning.
A very poor show by 2/3 of Team GB. As Derek & Rich were enjoying the crackin' views, Di's big dilemma was whether to the aim her arse or her mouth over the toilet pan.
Catrin faired ever-so-slightly-better-but-not-much by actually getting herself out of the hut before projectile vomiting everywhere. Today's vomit tally was 5 and me thinks somehow that this time it wasn't altitude related.
Not a very good show by the girls today :(
Thursday, 19 April 2012
The weather hasn't been good enough to head high.
Since we don't want to fall in a crevasse or walk off a serac, we have been playing safe and enjoying the little hills.
Derek decided to sprint up to the monastery on the first day which left a Di and a Catrin, rather pink and sweaty miles behind.
The following day, Ali came over to join in the fun and we opted for Mont Rogneaux.
Definitely not a speed ascent and for once it was actually nice to hold a conversation for more than one word.
Another couple of big peaks planned as the custard pie's move in over the weekend before the tapering week - otherwise known as the doing-tit-all-week-except-for-eating-week.
Friday, 13 April 2012
Next time we are in Zermatt it will be slightly different from this:
We certainly won't see this because we will be leaving Zermatt at 2100 hours and will be using head torches:
Yesterday, Cat and I pulled on the lycra once again (discretely hidden under the waterproofs) for the one day weather window, which was in reality a morning weather window, and skied Zermatt to Arolla.
Hopefully the visibility will be better than this:
It's not often that we ski down roped up, but yesterday we definitely did in fear of plopping in a big hole or falling off a serac. Course has now been well and truly recced.
Our one and only rest:
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
If I told you that yesterday Cat and Di skied fresh tracks all day, you probably wouldn't believe me.
If I told you that yesterday Cat and Di had the whole piste to themselves, you probably still wouldn't believe me.
If I told you that yesterday Cat and Di skied hero snow all day, you probably would think that I was making it all up.
It was hardly a rest day but it was a change of muscles, and it was good to know that we could actually ski without looking like a complete pair of donkeys (trust me, if you have tried skiing in race kit you will know what I am talking about).
This morning, before the ming weather moved in, Ali and James came over from Chamonix and after a few hours of huffin' and a puffin' found us at the top of the col de blah de blah....
Just over 2 weeks before the big race and the good news is that Catrin wasn't sick once :)
Sunday, 8 April 2012
We needed to get high ... altitude high that is ...
Catrin is possibly the worst person in the whole world that I know, for getting acclimatized.
Any proper friend would show emotion and support when their team buddy is barfing up.
Not I. I politely wait as Catrin is sick - not once, not twice, not three times but a mighty four times - and then simply ask "good?"
The answer is always "yes", but things must have been bad for Catrin to not finish a bottle of coke at the end of the day.
3 x 4000ers in the bag - bonus.
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
For the PDG, there are 2 classes that you can compete in: Course A or Course Z.
Course A goes from Arolla to Verbier - Length 26km / distance actually covered 53km / altitude difference +1881m -2341m.
Yesterday, with a one day weather window, we decided to pull ourselves into the GB lycra to see what the course was all about.
Bearing in mind, that this is the first time we have actually trained together as a team, we had very few hiccups.
Ok, so Catrin was only sick once with the altitude; we only went to one wrong col; we discovered that we actually can't go for a pee without taking the bloody suit off and we had to actually navigate due to low cloud.
It seemed as if we spent all day skinning uphill since there was absolutely nothing nice about the ski descent. Taking all the above into account, we managed to complete Course A well within the cut off times.
It's just a shame that we aren't actually competing in Course A!
Oh, these will be the only photo's from us during this stage of Course Z, since there is absolutely no way that I am carrying a camera with me!
For those techie people out there, there is now a PDG App for your device where you can follow each teams progress during the race. We are team number 2034, BRITISH WOMENS - ring your cow bell for the girls :)
Sunday, 1 April 2012
Considering my ski mountaineering training has been pretty non existent this season due to a distinct lack of snow, yesterday could have gone a lot worse. In fact, yesterday's race alone saw me ascent more on ski's than my entire scottish skinning season.
Learning lessons must include:
#1 must not forget to put sun cream on neck
#2 when removing skins, be very aware of paper race number on thigh so that paper race number doesn't become attached to skin
#3 don't think about doing fancy little turns on steep entries into gullys, think about extreme side slipping at speed
Carron Scrimgeour won the mens title with Ben Bardsley and Jon Bracey coming second and third.
I actually don't have a photo of the girlie winners since I was on the podium (seriously I was!). Leanne Callaghan put in a sterling effort to gain the title of Queen of British Ski Mountaineering with Gaby Lees getting second position. I ended up coming third and won a bottle of wine - needless to say it lasted less than 8 hours unopened.
Catrin came in third in the Veteran category and not only did she win a bottle of wine but a posy of flowers too!
A massive big thank you to the BMC and to Es Tresidder for organising the event.