I know it is some time ago since summer, therefore I might not remember everything exactly as it happened.
It is the description of a alpine course in the summer of 2007.
It is organized by the NSAC, the dutch student association for climbing and mountaineering, also the course-leaders are dutch, chief leader: Peer van de Helm, and two leaders on their exam for becoming also a chief-leader: Hans-robert Hoebee and Mark Oostveen.
The goal of this course is to learn us to be able to make independent tours, so mainly to learn how too see dangers and avoid them, also tour-planning, mostly related with rock and stone area's, but finally it turned out that knowing how to move on snow and ice was also a good point of view.
participants in the course:
Roel Helsen (svac yeti)
Maria Velema (usac)
Ruud Tijs (svac yeti)
Marian ?? ??
Mario Hermens (tilsac)
and Marieke Schenker (me, svac yeti)
The first day we went climbing within a few kilometers from the camping, practising rock-climbing on heavy shoes and checking out our abilities.
the rocks we were climbing the first day, and no we didn't use the stairs
Also practising in laying wall-nuts and some camelots in a competion, with as price a nice t-bloc, which Roel won.
pretty messy huh?
After a ridiculous good meal (after all, we are students) we went to the centre for a world cup-game. This day it was speed-climbing, the second day we go waching difficulty.
ruud at the index
Today we go to the index, a nice rock, just half an hour from the top of the lift. First we walked on to a snow-field to check our snow-walking, which turned out to be a disaster according to Peer.
While we are with nine, Mark, maria and myself had to climb in a tree persons group which slowed us down, too bad, we did not have much time to enjoy the magnificent view to the Grand Jorasses, mer de glace, aguille du midi and the Mont-Blanc.
The index itself is a easy ridge (4+ (5.7)), varied climbing. For us a good practise in ridge-climbing and searching the easiest way, also nuts and friends had to be used. The ridge ended on top were we had to use a rope to reach the couoir with a rappel.We decended trough ice and rock, actually the most risky part of the day.
because of our bad snow-skills today we went again up with La flegere and l'index to do snow-exercises at the snow field.
We started with just walking, up, down, sideways, diagonal, just every way we could thing of. After a break we went braking, just throw yourself of a steep slope and stop as fast as possible, again in every possible direction we could think of, with and without pick-axe. Always a good way to become soaked wet and exhausted, but providing us with some nice photos.
Finally we went practising for glacier tours, holding when someone falls into a crevas, and of course digging snow-holes, an emergcy shallow one and the start of a good shelter to survive for a few days.
Too bad we couldn't finish before the cabine stops, it would have been nice: 9 persons in a snow-hole.
Today it is time to improve our ice-skills. Too keep low the expenses only the instructors take the railway montenverse and we take a low-weight walk, while the instructors carry al the heavy luggage.
We meet again at the railway-station and start the long descent at the ladders, to the glacier. I am the only one who seems to be actually frightened at these things.
On the glacier we put on our crampons and start walking. Because of the ice we are forced to keep on our long sleeves, but because of the fohn-wind the temperatures are beyond comfortable.
We split up in several groups: walking on steep ice, ice-climbing and using ice-screws.
At lunchtime we find out why the instructors carry this much bagage: Out of their bags come sachets of cheese, bread, two burners and even two bottles of white wine. Yes, were are having cheese-fondue at the glacier, an old tradition of Peer, which we will keep in honour I hope.
In the past two days the weather becomes more threatening, the fohn-clouds are lying after the Grand-Jorasses and the weather forecast at La Maison de la montagne is insecure. We decide to wait until tomorrow for the final decision but will probably leave tomorrow.
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