Showing posts with label IFMGA Guides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IFMGA Guides. Show all posts

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sardinia Explored - Limestone Delight!

May in NH? This year it was the right time to travel - escape of mud season, black flies, and showers. Sardinia had always been on my list for a climbing trip/ travel vacation. I made the flights plans well in advance booking the tickets with United Airlines using frequent flyer miles. This flight was quite easy with a overnight flight to Milan then a short 1 hour flight to Sardinia. Terry and I  arrived on the island at the Olbia airport in mid afternoon with bright sunshine and temps at 27C.
Soon enough we were at the crags - working the limestone routes. We concentrated our climbing to the southern areas around the town of Baunei. This area was a less traveled/climbed area. The limestone rock was very solid, not polished, and we had most areas to ourselves

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Silvretta Traverse

Each April as the winter season winds down at home in Crested Butte, I head over the pond to extend the season with ski tours and hut trips in the Alps. This year began with a return to the Silvretta Groupe on the Swiss/Austrian border. This week long hut based tour begins in the Ischgl ski area, leaves from the Pauliner Kopf lift and drops down into the next valley to the Heidelberger Hutte at 2200 meters.

Heilderberger Hutte

 This area of the Alps still has the legendary jagged peaks and immense vertical drops, but the glaciers are more mellow and the ski terrain less intense making it great for a skier's first visit to the Alps.
Leaving the Jamtal Hutte

Day 2 brings us over the next ridge and into the valley of the Jamtal Hutte. This "hut" is more of a mountain palace as it boasts a huge dining room, smaller more private sleeping rooms, an indoor climbing wall, two outdoor ice climbing towers, meeting rooms, showers, internet.....
Patio of the Jamtal Hutte
Our first day at the Jamtal it dumped snow with very limited visibility. We spent the morning working on avalanche rescue skills and running through scenarios before returning to the hut for some soup, yoga and drying out. In the afternoon a few hearty souls headed out for some low-vis powder turns behind the hut while the other (smarter?) ones hung out inside. 

Blue skies returned the following day and the hordes were out tracking up the fresh 30 cms of powder. It was definitely the best ski day of the trip and everyone returned to the hut with huge smiles.
We milked the fresh powder for the next few days, though the clouds hung low and visibility was an issue sometimes. If you could envision the pitch and have faith that the guide (me) was not leading you off a cliff, the skiing was really good! Some mornings we skied above the cloud, then dropped below as the fog lifted and light snow began most afternoons.
Skinning into the cloud
The final day was like skiing in a ping-pong ball as we felt our way 7,000 vertical feet back down into the valley and returned to Galtur, Austria. The team enjoyed sauna, steam room and a fine meal at the hotel before departing in the morning. I headed back to Chamonix and am currently waiting out the foggy weather in the climbing gym and hoping it clears out soon!

Steve Banks

Monday, March 12, 2012

150 Peaks Project - Mt Washington NH

The anniversary is on, Mammut is celebrating 150 years offering innovative products to outdoor and mountain enthusiasts.  To celebrated this event a selected team of climbers from all over the country arrived in NH and met at the Highland center on Friday evening. Our weekend plan was to climb NH's most beautiful mountain - Mt Washington. The team members were Bill - Mammut CEO, Kristen - Backpacker Magazine gear editor, Dave - Mountain Gear general manager, R D - Access Fund - legal council, Maureen and Mike - Paradox Sports, along with Jim and Matt - MMG guides and myself. 

The forecasted mountain weather was for temperatures struggling to reach 5 degrees with a 25 to 40 MPH wind from the west. We all were equipped with the Peaks Collection clothing and felt prepared for this cold, blustery climb. The initial climb to Lake of the Clouds surprised us with warm temperatures and no wind. Once we reached the alpine zone the clouds moved in and the temperature dropped quickly to the forecasted single digits. This was exactly what we prepared for and expected on Mt Washington. The team layered up in the 150 Peaks Collection pro shell and added face and eye protection to continue our climb into this amazing alpine area. We all continued up into the fog and clouds on the summit cone. We summited by mid day and the clouds broke treating us to a few moments of views to the south and east.

The lower Ammonusuc Trail was in good condition. This made for a fast ascent to Lake of the Clouds Hut.

The team in sync as we climbed together across the lower snow slopes. 


The fog and clouds moved in on the summit area adding excitement to our climb.

Our first views of the summit towers as the skies opened up on the final push to the top.

Bill and Maureen arriving at the top of Mt Washington. 

Thanks to Mammut for supporting us during this fantastic celebration. It was an awesome day on the mountain and an absolute pleasure to meet and climb with each of you.

Art Mooney
IFMGA Mountain Guide