FYI, it’s snowing like crazy in much of the Alps, super high avy danger and the rest of the drill. We got some human powered vert today here in Austria, but we’re not able to do the classic tours. Things are still going well, however, as the total cultural experience is what we were after and this has been delivered — huge.
Sort of a closing TR from the Swiss portion of our trip, story in the captions.
|So, we got shut down by weather and avy danger midway through our days in Switzerland, so we did a classic “pasture” tour that climbed up through a bunch of farms to a high saddle. It’s funny, as skiing on a ranch in the States would sound ridiculous. But the ranches here have 40 degree pitches and even avalanche danger. Above, Louie does some snow ranching. We’ll have to try some of that in Colorado.|
|At the top of the pastures. You can imagine the farm kids taking skipping work and going for a quick jaunt to the summit. No wonder they’ve got so many good climbers.|
|The nice thing about this tour was the good view of the Engstligenalp cable car and more, the part of Adelboden where we’d done a whiteout tour a few days ago, and were hoping to return to in better conditions.|
|This was one of the smaller avalanches we heard and watched pour of the Engtligenalp cliffs. Some were quite loud and made a good squeeze on the adrenals.|
|With high hopes for the next day, we hit the cheese. Fondu, baby.|
|Another moderate goal, the Amertenspitz would today finally be ours! Funny how weather makes the small goals seem big. Relativity, I guess. We actually tried to do two tours this day. After climbing and skiing the Amertenspitz, and after a break at the gasthaus for late lunch, we skinned up the piste with the idea of reaching another summit that’s above the resort slopes. The sun started setting and the wind blasted, so we didn’t make that one but got in some extra vert to help burn off some more cheese. Dairy burning vertical is always a plus when you’re in Switzerland, unless you want to blow the buttons off your pants when you fly back home.|
|Yours truly at the top. The north side held an amazing 4,000 vertical foot freeride style descent that was an obvious line — and obviously ready for a nice big slab avalanche. So we stuck to the south facing, where the new snow had bonded well to a corn crust. Those are the Dynafti Manaslus, which have been a good ski choice for this trip because they’re forgiving floaters that easily handle all sorts of euromank.|
|Louie and Lisa enjoy the view to ever higher Alps.|
|Louie gits sum (that’s a ranching term) on one of our only decent weather days. A few other people had the same idea. Didn’t mind that at all. Then back down the cable car in time for some raclette from our gracious Swiss hosts.|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.