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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inspiration and Sobering Reality

I've just returned from a couple of weeks of skiing in the French and Swiss Alps, where we stuck to well-traveled tracks and merely ogled the improbable traces of bold skiers arcing down seemingly every plunging gully and cliffy face. The stuff that gets skied routinely in these mountains is mind-blowing. And so it was fun to discover Colin Haley's helmet-cam video of a "typical" day of skiing this month off the Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix—this is a great window on the kind of skiing I'll never do. Thrilling stuff!

But as I read deeper in Colin's long debrief of recent weeks in Chamonix on his Skagit Alpinism blog, I learned there was another, darker side to his story. In less than one week, Colin watched his skiing partners suffer two serious accidents during big descents (the two skiers who fell both lived, somewhat miraculously, though one was severely injured) and he himself narrowly escaped being pulled off a mountain by an avalanche. Colin's account is analytical, sobering, and highly worth reading. Don't miss it.


Adayak said...

Awesome helmet cam video - that is some serious skiing they do.

Anonymous said...

it would appear they got some core shots in those ski bases too.
doesnt look like a big snow year?

Gary G said...

I have been working up the skills to take on Chamonix and some of it's more serious routes but, that video makes me think I need a little more time.

Jamie said...

Great pictures. But I gotta say two accidents in two weeks seems like these guys are heading to the adage 'the mountains are littered with those whom went too far too fast'. Having myself been to Chamonix over 20 times and having done some of the same routes, I would say these guys need to learn patience with respect to conditions. And another note, Pierre Tardivel is still the worlds best extreme skier, not the Swede.