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Author Topic: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland  (Read 2570 times)
kam
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jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« on: 01/07/06, 08:49 PM »

i haven't been on AT gear since i started tele over five years ago. the new homemade skis i brought with me we're not so hot. in fact, they sucked. after spending four days on them, my conjecture is: there's an interesting relationship between the frequency of my cartwheels (f) and the excessive camber (c) and stiffness (s) of the skis, something along the lines f = K*exp(f*s), where K is an appropriate constant.  anyway, i think the AT rental was a good choice. read on.

in hopes of finding better weather, Christian made the call to drive to the Swiss side, about 30-minutes from Chamonix. the six of us (Christian, Michael, Corinne, Karine, Greg and i) drove two cars to the Bel Oiseau area. the parking area was well occupied since it was a weekend -- French and Swiss skiers out to enjoy the beautiful weather.

we donned skis at the parking area (~4400 ft.) and then skinned up an access road for about a mile. from there, the track started to climb through sparse trees until we found ourselves at the bottom of a giant basin. the terrain before us was eye-candy, crisscrossed with quite a few number of tracks, actually.  but still plenty of fresh snow for everyone.

after decoding the map for a minute, Christian decided we follow an up-track to a pass at 8500 ft. the climb was uneventful, except for the last 100 ft. where steep slopes and hard snow made for a slippery ascent. the one thing i appreciate about AT is making kick-turns. the boot-toe-to-ski interface pivots freely and it's so easy to "kick" a ski around. but sometimes too easy. for example, at one turn i over did it and the tip of my ski swung up and clocked me in the pr*vate area. ouch. note to self: watch that tip.

from the pass we enjoyed views of the Alps with at least 15 other skiers. it was a busy place. the mountains appear to go on forever. as we were snacking, i noticed skiers dropping into a slope below:



after snacking, Christian decided for us to climb up a ridge (with skis on our packs) from the pass to gain a summit for better views and a descent in fresh snow. so climb we did, but the ridge was a bit exposed in some spots. a few sections felt somewhat uncomfortable, but i managed with some encouragement. here's a picture of Michael and Christian on the ridge. here's one looking back at Greg.

from the summit we enjoyed even better views of the surrounding landscape.  Christian decided to re-check the map for a good descent from the top, but then realized that the map was incorrect.  what? incorrect? huh?  ummm, if you say so.  as usual, the women to the rescue.  Corinne and Karine take a closer look. oh, here's the problem, we're not where we are suppose to be. we're in the next valley over and on the wrong summit.  ooops, minor detail.

from the top we found a way down back to the pass, in a Euro-backcountry-style kind of way. is this a tyipcal backcountry day in these parts?  a few of us were gripped, but we all managed without incident.  i think i'm glad i was on AT gear.  and i think i can't wait to go back to Virginia and sit in my office in front of the computer for 10 hours a day, where it's flat.  Wink

from the pass we skied nice powder to the basin. the skiing through the woods back to the access road was interesting, but fun.  it reminded me of the fun crust-on-twigs in the NW. hey, watch out for that barbed wire!
« Last Edit: 01/08/06, 04:24 AM by kam » Logged

What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
Paul Belitz
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #1 on: 01/08/06, 12:39 AM »

VERY cool trip, guys.  Cool
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allyson
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #2 on: 01/08/06, 10:41 AM »

kam--even when you're gripped because the terrain is sketch, you still seem to have some laughable moments.  here are a few of my favorites:

Quote
the tip of my ski swung up and clocked me in the pr*vate area. ouch. note to self: watch that tip.

yeah, ouch.

Quote
i think i can't wait to go back to Virginia and sit in my office in front of the computer for 10 hours a day, where it's flat.  Wink

Virginia is for flat-land lovers!

Quote
hey, watch out for that barbed wire!

and again, ouch.

glad you all made it back in one piece!  
Smiley
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snowshoe?? why would you??
philfort
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #3 on: 01/08/06, 12:13 PM »

Sounds cool... I'm headed to the Alps in April.  Keep writing the TR's, it's building stoke.
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Michael
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #4 on: 01/08/06, 05:37 PM »

Nice pictures Kam! It was a fun day - Christian always manages to add some spice to these types of trips ;-)

Here are my pictures:
Kam skinning up to Bel Oiseau
Greg enjoying the ridge
Kam and Greg on the ridge with a nice view on Mont Blanc in the back
Christian reaching the summit
Corinne and Kam in the little couloirKam skiing down with a LOCKED heel
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cascadesfreak
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #5 on: 01/09/06, 04:25 AM »

Quote
Hell has frozen over  Grin  Way to turn back to the dark side Toe!!...
Great photos Michael and Kam!


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carter
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #6 on: 01/09/06, 04:33 AM »

Kam and Greg,
great reports from an incredible trip.  Thanks for getting your pictures up while travelling.  
Btw, Kam: nice form on the AT gear.  
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all things are possible, except skiing through a revolving door. -anonymous
philfort
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Re: jan 07, 2005, Bel Oiseau, Switzerland
« Reply #7 on: 01/09/06, 04:37 AM »

It's the Swiss version of Source Lake Basin!

Kam's crossing Source Lake.  There's Chair up on the left with the broad gully/fan leading to it.  You can leave it early on the right, to head towards the Snow Lake divide.
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