Sunday, 26 January 2014

Good snow in Switzerland

First full week of snowshoeing for this year, a week based at the Gemmi Pass in Switzerland. This place has some of the best snowshoe walks around and is absolutely long as the weather is good. In bad weather it can be a nightmare as there are no trees at all (far too high at 2300m) and fog tends to form on the plateau so trying to find your way is HORRIBLE!

Ptarmigan in the fog

Alpine chough

I already experienced the joys of groping around in the fog here last year and had hoped to not repeat the experience. To my horror our first two days were pretty snowy and visbility was minimal. However, we did get to see some ptarmigans in their winter white which was a highlight for me. Then on day 3 we were rewarded with crystal clear views and powder snow to die for. We'd certainly earned it.
Lots of untracked powder

Snow conditions in general seem pretty good. There's certainly enough in the main Alps, although less than some winters. In the southern Alps there have been huge falls these last few days and the avalanche risk is high. This should settle down soon.

Skiers far away

The Valaisan peaks

After this fabulous day the weather once again deteriorated so we escaped to Vallorcine where there are forests to walk in alongside pretty rivers and through nice alpine hamlets.
Chamois finding food in the snow

That's the news from the snowy Alps for now. I am back in Provence for a few days of climbing before my next foray to raquette land. Watch this space.

Friday, 10 January 2014


We've had a nice few weeks since getting over the trauma of moving house. The weather has generally been very clement both here in Provence and also in the Alps. Hopefully the snow will fall soon as I fear it's getting a bit hard "under-raquette".
Meanwhile I haven't been thinking about snow at all, I've been out and about enjoying this wonderful wild area where we live. Vulture watching and climbing.
I will be off to find some snow this weekend and so then I'll hopefully have some shots of snowshoeing and also of my new very fine snowshoes - watch this space.