Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Across the Alps the Hard Way

Canadian Max Turgeon pulled off a lovely solo, self-supported, unmotorized traverse of the Alps, from Chamonix to Trieste, climbing classic big faces along the way, over 18 days in August. The stats are impressive: 1,236 kilometers of cycling, with 12,879 meters of elevation gain; 6,990 vertical meters of hiking; and 6,080 meters of climbing. But what's really impressive is how little gear he carried. The equipment in the tiny bike pack and day pack in these photos is it. Turgeon slept in gites and huts and bought food along the way. And he didn't change his clothes. At the end, "I almost threw them in the garbage, he said, "because I was afraid they wouldn't let me on the train."

Enjoying superb weather, Turgeon soloed seven classic Alpine routes: the Cassin route on the northeast face of the Piz Badile, the Vinatzer-Castiglioni on the south face of the Marmolada, the Wiessner route on the northeast face of the Civetta, the Spigolo Alvera-Pompanin on the south face of the Tofane di Rozes, the Spigolo Dibona on Cima Grande, the Spigolog Demuth on Cime Ovest, and the Skalaska route on the north face of Triglav in Slovenia. On Day 18 he swam in the Adriatic Sea.

Now that's a summer vacation. Well done, Max!