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A question for the ski mountaineers?

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A question for the ski mountaineers?

Postby mtnbiker converted » Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:29 pm

i read Walter Bonatti's 'Mountains of my Life' recently and i found it an inspiring book, i knew he was a great climber but hadn't fully appreciated how bold his actions were, particularly the cosidering his era, and how hardy and mentally strong this guy was.

he mentioned breifly in the book a long xc ski and climbing trip across all the european alps, and i found this in some ways more inspiring.
does anyone have any more info on this trip, or similar journeys like this? i know skis would be faster, but given enough time, could it be done with snowshoes?

i thought that planning a long journey across most of the alps, climbing some easier peaks, travelling only on foot (crampons or snowshoes, hiking some easier lower level paths to) and using huts, bivis and rest stops in towns en route would be the most satisfying journey a mountain lover can make!

any opinions or info anyone?

many thanks!
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Re: A question for the ski mountaineers?

Postby Charles » Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:39 pm

I take it you´re talking about a winter-spring traverse? Thing about ski is, they take the same time as snow shoes on the ups but are a damn site quicker on the downs.

What about the Haute Route?

That sort of journey is a thing that dreams are made of.
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Re: A question for the ski mountaineers?

Postby herbie » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:37 pm

If you mean a complete east-west traverse from Vienna to Nice (Nizza), that has been already done quite often.
If you do it in summer, starting around mid April or begin of May in Vienna, you don't need Ski's or Snow shoes, only crampons and ice axe.
Depending on your route and on the summits you want to climb, and if you want to run or enjoy it will take 3 to 6 months.
I know from routes from Vienna to the far south and along the dolomites to the west, and other routes along the alpine main crest, more in the north.

An action like that is my dream after retirement. :-)
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Re: A question for the ski mountaineers?

Postby Moni » Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:17 am

There's always the Haute Route - a ski route from Chamonix to Zermatt.
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Re: A question for the ski mountaineers?

Postby mtnbiker converted » Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:34 pm

ok guys dont laugh...but i've never been on skis... )

this is something i'd try on crampons and snowshoes at best, it will take longer (and i will miss that downhill skiing blast) but unless i get proficient on skis very fast i think i need to use a different method, making the Haute Route a no-go i expect.
but i really would like to do something similar in spring 2007 through summer.

herbie, you mention routes inc along the main alpine crest, any links or source on this? i'd like to see what routes have been used and plan time / ability against them.
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Re: A question for the ski mountaineers?

Postby Moni » Fri Jan 27, 2006 2:10 pm

With a little thought and a map, you can put together your own hut to traverse of most any part of the Alps. At least in the Swiss guides, it is explained how to traverse to the next closest huts. I imagine there are some routes that require little exposure to glaciers. Just depends specifically what you are looking for.
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Not laughing

Postby darinchadwick » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:00 pm

Hey, if you know how to downhill ski at all, you should use skis. I used to do the crampon snowshoe thing, and I'm telling you, once you get the right gear, there is no going back. With good bindings and new skins, it's amazing the kind of terrain you can cover. The kind of trip you're talking about sounds perfect for skis.
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Postby Charles » Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:35 pm

The haute route is also good in summer.
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well worth it

Postby mvs » Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:52 am

Hi, I have been a snowshoer for years and this year put them away forever to change to skis. I know there is a big learning curve ahead of me, but I expect it will be really worthwhile. Despite limited time, I've found that I can easily accomplish easy ski tours and I also dream of the Haute Route in winter (agreed, summer would also rule!).

As a bonus, I find it's easier to hike uphill in snow in skis. You just push your leg forward, you don't have to lift up out of the previous step and stomp out a new one. And going down...well, it is almost effortless and much more fun.

Good luck on your journeys!
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Postby Stuart Buchanan » Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:39 am

There is a classic ski traverse mainly in the French Alps from Geneva to Nice (though I've heard it is better to do it from Nice to Geneva so you mainly descend North facing slopes). It is known as the Grande Traverse Des Alps, or GTA, and mainly follows the GR5.

I did it in summer a long time ago from Geneva to Nice - took about 30 days. The route itself doesn't go to any summits, but there is opportunity for diversions.

There is a small guidebook book describing both the summer route (North to South) and the winter ski route (South to North).

-Stuart
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Postby mtnbiker converted » Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:41 pm

thanks again - due to lack of opp to learn skiing to a safe standard for a trip like this, being based in the uk it's not easy, i'm looking at the GR routes plus summit diversions, and thanks for the tips all.

having tried to mountainbike these gr's i know they aren't the easy footpaths yone may expect, but will be an ideal base for a long hike and climb..
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