/ NEW ARTICLE: Ski Mountaineering by Doug Evans
Wondered when Mick was going to put the article on line. Just to note that the shopping section was added by him (maybe why its a bit N American) - I would have listed Mountain Spirit (Aviemore) & Telemark-Pyrenees (Ax les Thermes)
Great article, giving inspiration to get out there. Well done.
However, the picture of the author "Telemarking" got me wondering.
Inside hand down, outside hand up, leading leg stiff and straight, trailing foot tipped up on tippy toes, body leaning into a motor bike turn, chest facing across or up the slope.
Is this how to telemark?
> I would have listed Mountain Spirit (Aviemore)
> was added by him (maybe why its a bit N American)
There seems to be very few stockists in the UK. I put these in so people can see the full range of gear available.
> There seems to be very few stockists in the UK. I put these in so people can see the full range of gear available.
You might like to add these guys in Ilkley, W.Yorks - no connection, just a happy customer: http://www.backcountryuk.com/
> You might like to add these guys in Ilkley, W.Yorks - no connection, just a happy customer: http://www.backcountryuk.com/
> Regards, Mike
Updated Mike. Thanks for the tip. I recognise David. I used to teach for a short time at Ilkley Grammar.
Anyway, in other news, we may have an article to follow up Doug's primer, the Haute Route....most certainly one trip I'd like to do. I'll keep you posted.
.....and don't miss the "Starting Ski Mountaineering" thread.
His leading leg isn't straight at all, and perhaps he is turning into a traverse, not about to turn again hence the body position.
Is this any better 'style' wise http://perso.wanadoo.fr/doug.evans/skiing.jpg ?
Looking forward to the photos of Davy :-)
And the website for Telemark Pyrenees is www.telemark-pyrenees.com - I know the owners are friends but they do have a good range, speak English & are often cheaper than UK shops.
To anyone wanting to buy gear, remember the choice is much larger in countries such as France or Austria - especialy important for boots
The links are very useful, I'm just looking to buy some gear so thanks to everyone for those. For boot buying I have heard very good reports about Footworks in Chamonix and Argentiere - they have a good range of AT (and tele and DH) boots and seem to e very good at getting a comfortable fit.
I've not been to Chamonix for a couple of years but I'm sure I've read either that Footworks has shut, or maybe it was that the bootfitter moved elsewhere. That said, there's more choice in Chamonix for ski boots than in the entire UK
Often they are, but I think even fairly fit people underestimate the effort required, especially if the going is tough (e.g. breakable crust or long flat sections).
> I've not been to Chamonix for a couple of years but I'm sure I've read either that Footworks has shut, or maybe it was that the bootfitter moved elsewhere. That said, there's more choice in Chamonix for ski boots than in the entire UK
Hope I'm not getting confused, there was a specialist boot fitters in Argentiere 3 weeks ago, part of the "ChamEx" shop and I'm sure it was footworks (kind of a shop within a shop). The same fitters also had a shop in Cham. A friend went in to buy some boots and they advised him to get a pair of Scarpa Denalis, but they didn't have his size in stock, so they called the Cham shop and someone drove up there and then with a pair of boots for him. That sounds like pretty good service. See <http://www.chamex.com/c_pub/en/contact.php>.
The other two things he could (should ?) have stressed more was 1) the difficulty of identifying and negotiating crevasses from above and the obvious danger that entails and 2) Identifying and avoiding unstable snow pack (most skiers caught in an avalanche start it themselves).
This really is a dangerous game for "all the gear no idea" merchants - either those from a skiing backgroung or a limited alpine background.
An earlier draft had a few other sections,including a 'where to stay' (about huts mostly) & 'snow/avalanche awareness' section. I cut them out as the piece was getting long compared to other articles on the site but maybe removing the second was an error as I agree that being able to evaluate snow conditions & choose a route to suit (or even not go out in some cases) is a key skill.
I think the subject is to long to deal with in such an article but if Mick (who seems to be the editor for that section of the site) agrees, I'll add a short piece with some relevent links/book titles.
Firstly, overall, I enjoyed the article and I wouldn't really have expected you to cover 'how to negotiate glaciers' or 'how to evaluate snow slopes' - just that the dangers exist in a very real way ! The reason I see it as a problem particularly for ski mountaineering is that ski mountaineering is a 'cool' thing to do at the moment and loads of relatively inexperienced people will be attracted to it. That means very competant piste skiers who could get into trouble very quickly on untracked glaciers, and people with only summer alpine experience.
Its actually one of the few climbing related disciplines where I would (and have) use a guide.
But Mick has agreed to add a section on snow safety but I'm not sure when he'll post it - later today maybe ?
Fair comment, but I suspect (and I agree it is suspect)think most people think the Alps when thinking Ski Mountaineering (rather than ski touring, for instance)and probably think the Haute Route. So, going back to the article, it is possible to point out the hazards of glaciers (especially spotting crevasses fast enough from above) AND that good non glaciated alternatives exist.
The comments about snow judgement hold irrespective, of course.
Agreed. I'm a bit of a peripherarian - in that I've skied in various places, but never anywhere in the Alps.
As for spotting crevasses, I've never really found this a problem & the really bad areas are shown on the map (at least in France, Austria & Switzerland), but admit that maybe I've just been lucky in that I've only ever been involved in two falls into a crevasse, one on foot (Arolla) & one on ski (Wapta Ice fields) niether serious (just in as far as the knee)in 25 plus years.
And we do have a follow up article for this week and an excellent one it is too........oooops!
But I know you're aware of alternatives, when are you heading to the Oberland ? (looking like I'll get at least a day's skiing in the Pyrenees this weekend ;-)
1 look forward to seeing your article
Interesting article. Just to comment on two points.
1. You say ski mountaineering and ski touring are synonymous. This may be so in the high Alps, but much of the world's ski touring clearly involves no mountaineering.
2. “No one in continental Europe would consider going walking in the high mountains in winter”.
Again by high you must mean high Alps. In the Tatras the ski touring trails tend to have similar numbers of walkers and skiers. Ski mountaineering is practised in more mountainous terrain like this http://www.extreme-sport.pl/index.html?a=galeria&id=4&img=002 and you're supposed to have passed a week course in mountaineering skills before doing it. You have to walk a lot too http://www.extreme-sport.pl/index.html?a=galeria&id=4&img=001
As for not walking, I've never visited the Tatra (planned to go to the Slovak Tatra one year but my local contact said there was little snow that year so we went to the Silvretta instead) but in 15 odd years skiing in the Alps, Pyrenees & Norway I've seen one guy on foot (no skis, no snowshoes) once more than 10-20 minutes from the car parks/ski lifts and he was more than a little strange. Sounds like the Tatra are more like Scotland, maybe its due to the scale ?
Yes, clearly general confusion. I imagine in the US ski touring is more likely to mean x-country touring?
Somewhere in between. Also it's a case of affording the gear. One thing you often see is walkers overtaking the skiers by ascending the fall-line while the skiers zig-zag. The descent on foot is usually much faster than in summer because you can glissade or take big plunging steps.
> Yes, clearly general confusion. I imagine in the US ski touring is more likely to mean x-country touring?
Level III: These are difficult tours requiring advanced ski skills, winter camping and mountaineering experience, and some experience at high altitude.
The Sierra High Route
This is “it", the ultimate Sierra Classic ski tour.
First skied in it’s entirety in 1975 by Sierra veteran Dave Beck, this subtle line linking high passes and long contours around huge snow filled bowls has become the goal of many a backcountry skier. Starting in the low desert of the Eastern Sierra and crossing some of the more rugged parts of the Sierra Nevada this is not a tour for the beginning skier. Often compared to the famous “Haute Route” of the European Alps or Colorado’s Tenth Mountain Trail, this is a true extended wilderness ski tour, with no huts, few other people and no nearby roads. For the experienced backcountry skier with good backcountry skills it will be a truly outstanding venture; the essence of ski mountaineering.
Nice photo album of the Sierra Crest tour here:
Empty your cache. It should be there.
There's this guide to “Ski Mountaineering in the Polish High Tatras”, in Polish with a summary in English. http://www.extreme-sport.pl/index.html?a=extremeski&id=167
It's more of a guide to hard ski descents though, the easiest probably being a 40-degree gulley that's used by ski tourers as the main link between two valleys.
For less steep ski touring I don't know a book. It's a small area and the trails are marked – just get a winter Tatra map (skiing and walking trails are marked and often coincide) and follow the TOPR reports on ski conditions and avalanche risk. http://www.topr.pl/index.php?str=2,7
In Polish they refer to “ski alpinizm” and divide this into various categories including ski-touring.
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