Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tower Gully film @ EMFF

An update on the Premiere of my Tower Gully film at this year's Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival - the film will be showing as part of the Saturday evening session - 7pm, October 23rd.
The session also features climbing & kayaking short films, as well as Dave Macleod & Andy Turner's recreation of Marshall & Smith's epic week of new routing on Ben Nevis; to top it al...l off the guest speaker is the one & only Mick Fowler - legendary taxman and "mountaineer's mountaineer"!
Should be a great evening - don't miss out - tickets are available online here.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Winter on the horizon?

From one extreme to the other this week - drove back from 3 days climbing in shorts & t-shirt on sunny limestone in Orpierre to find snow down to 2100m in the Savoie!

Speaking of which, I finally found time to do a quick edit of footage from July's ski mission on the Mt Pourri:

July skiing - Mt Pourri from Simon Christy on Vimeo.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Steep Vanoise 2011 dates

Dates for this coming winter's Steep Vanoise weeks are now confirmed:

Steep Vanoise - based in Bourg St Maurice (accommodation tbc): 27 Feb - 4 March

Steep Vanoise Tours - based in Brides-les-Bains (accommodation tbc): 27 Mar - 1 April

Please see the main offpisteskiing website for more details.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


The "12 Month Challenge" is alive and well!!!

Despite work getting in the way big style this month, a ski descent was pulled out of the bag on the 31st August...

I had heard rumours of a 'legendary' cave that existed with a snowfield in the bottom of it which kept its snow all year round... last year with further research I discovered its name: the Chourum de la Parza.
Sitting in the Devoluy massif, South of Grenoble, the Chourum sees very occasional ski descents, mainly due to the difficulties in getting into it - 75m of abseiling to access it, followed by a climb back up the ropes to get out again!

Will testing out his 4x4 sandals:

Entrance to the Vallon de Truchiere:

Thar she blows! - The entry to the Chourum:

Don't forget some bolt hangers! - The top belay is rigged with bolts and nuts but no hangers - presumably to avoid casual users getting in over their heads?

25m down the top slabs, just the small matter of a 50m free-hanging abseil from here:

Luckily we had taken a 100m rope along with the 75, as the top of the snow was pulling away from the rock leaving a big, dark bergschrund - with 75s one person would probably need to stand holding the rope-ends at all times to avoid them drifting out of reach above the void!!

On top of the snow, looking back up the ropes:

Will starting the free-hanging abseil:

Almost down:

Will enjoying his first subterranean turns:

The snow was great - firm névé with a soft surface - after the first couple of metres which were covered in debris from above the surface was smooth & debris-free and with a steady angle of 35-40º perfect for skiing! After 80m or so the snow ran out onto a gentle area of rocks & dust; further exploration below the snow-line took us another 80m or so deeper into the cave, past quite a few bones (previous skiers?) to the cave bottom...

Will climbing up for another lap:

After a few laps of the 'indoor ski slope' we decided we should really think about getting out of there again...time for some suffering...50m jumaring up free-hanging ropes, in ski boots, with backpacks & skis hanging off the harness... enough to make anyone sweat. Will did a sterling job for his baptism into 'proper' rope climbing - good effort mate!

Will near the end of the big climb:

Almost back on dry land!:


Great views - the scenery was absolutely stunning - from the rocky peaks of the Obiou, to the Verdon-esque rock walls in the valley - and best of all - not a soul in sight!