Uphill resort in Switzerland, Karničar farewell, Honnold in the nude
Okay! Autumnal currents today caressed my face. Let’s lead off with something directly related to snow. Whether it be unofical sidecountry, or official, perhaps designating resort terrain for ski touring is a trend? Crans Montana is doing it in Switzerland. According to their website, they’ve got “40 km of marked itineraries” comprising fifteen trails, all skill levels. The “little hidden restaurant…with great Swiss food” is intriguing — I’m already packing my Lactaid. On the list for Lisa and I. More here.
Davo Karničar, famous for his first complete ski descent of Everest as well as a host of other extreme skiing feats, has died. Reportedly, on September 16 a tree fell on him during logging or forestry work. I got a call from the NYT looking for quotes. We got into a discussion along the lines of “you take pause when an extreme athlete dies doing something mundane.” I wouldn’t call logging a low-risk activity, but it’s not skiing down Mount Everest. In any case, Davo was by all accounts a spirited, friendly guy who was good for our sport. May he rest in peace. Internet coverage.
Interesting when the intellectual arbiters of language come up with a new compound word. It appears “overtourism” began promulgating around 2017, easily understood as that situation when a place gets “loved to death.” Now we have word for it when too many people show up on a powder morning. Norway is on the case.
Annals of Business: Most of you know that our business plan here at WildSnow has changed. Fresh persons and all that. For my new partner Doug, who also owns a ski shop, I’ve got a suggestion for his rental business. This article in the NYT inspired me. Is there anywhere in the world where you could arrive in your Tshirt and Tevas and rent an entire ski touring kit for a few days of fun. Doug? I’d offer that such a kit must include 1) lightweight titanium nail clippers; 2) a specially balanced hammer for Hammerschlagen, or a high-end folding pool cue, depending on if you’re in Austria or Alaska.
Transport News: Long time readers know I’ve been pondering ebikes for years (look, I closed a previously hyphenated word!), mostly regarding their use for gated-dry roads that access the ski touring goods. But the greater efficacy of the electron assisted steeds incites trail lust, often of the illicit persuasion. Some of that sin might now be legal. In that case, is it still fun? More here.
Honnold Watch: Latest media circus is a series of athlete figure studies published by ESPN. Being no stranger to this sort of thing (artist mother, photographer father, 1960s), I enjoyed photographer Cory Richard’s interpretation of the male animal in (near) total glory. In terms of art I like the greyscale take, but a puckish shot depicting the solo star’s chalk bag as a fig leaf elicited a chuckle. ESPN article is a good read, and does leave you thinking “what in the world is next?” Perhaps something actually challenging, like children and staying married? With the help of the webcroscope, we be watching. One can not help but flash the thread-worn prefix: “keeping up with.” Thing is, would that ever be possible?
Department of Literary Interests: I’m not much of a poetry reader. In fact, I’d call myself ignorant (though I do understand the alcohol metaphor in country music). Years ago I got to know a man who was totally out of my gamut. I was a mountain boy, college was NOLS. Alan Goldman was a Harvard educated lawyer with a brain as complex as the Muldrow Glacier on Denali. We remained friends, occasionally bantering long-distance (he’s a New Yorker) about books, climbing, and life. Alan recently published “Reflections on Mountaineering,” a book of his narrative poetry. His back cover blurb says the poems “…deal with the human perception of reality, and deal with luck, fate, and chance.” I’m not qualified to review a poetry, but some of Alan’s writing resonated for me, and could be worth an exploration for those of you who like a deep dive into crafted prose. Indeed, today I glanced at this again and thought of Davo Karničar:
To save for human imagination — that “something else” that calls for exploration;
Striving always to find the next and most distant summit so high that no birds sing.
So onward, onward inside our brains is the quest thus maintained
for the magical mountain of our souls.
— Shambala, Alan Goldman
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.