Monday, February 26, 2007

A poem from Irene Frain's "Royaume des Femmes"

Nuit passée avec un ami

Pour chasser la tristesse de mille années,
rester à boire
cent pichets de vin.
La nuit est belle, propice aux mots purs
La clarté de la lune interdit le sommeil
Donc se soûler, allongé sur la montagne vide,
Le ciel pour couverture, la terre comme oreiller.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ski touring around Mt Blanc

Chamonix is expensive and crowded - but then again, where better to go to get a full of skiing, ice climbing and mountain fever? For me, it remains THE place. Only 3 days, but weather was with us and we tried to get most out of it. The first day saw us off exploring Grand Montets hors-piste. Snow was not too good despite the recent snow falls, we went off through Argentiere and queue again to descend the peak. The second day we tried a goulotte on Petit Capucin thinking to do Valeria and ending up on its neighbour Chipanddale.

Not a big deal as we only manage 2 pitches of that before becoming desperate with small snow avalanches and our being absurdly long. A descent of Vallee Blanche (a first for both) compensates the trouble, we are alone in a gorgeous setting. True, this is one of the must-does even if you are not a mountaineer at the base. Third day sees us up Brevent and its crowded slopes. We still manage to find some powder traversing the Aiguille Pourrie andn descending its left couloir. Snow is good...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Mountain for a Dream

Here is a pic that struck in my imagination since seeing it for the first time in Willis's 'Everest Boys' book about Bonington's group...

Ensor and Musée-sur-Mer

Weather thwarted our plans for Chamonix outing, so we visited an Ensor expo in Ostende that is coming to an end this February. There was a proliferation of paintings with a beautiful Dali piano and some not that well-known to me Belgian artists like Pemeke - and bien sûr Ensor. This one was one of my favorites - maybe because I do like Goya too and saw his old women recently in Lille.

This one is pretty fun too, although not at the expo. Ensor, the skelleton king :)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sylvia Plath

Remembering old friends - a poem by Sylvia Plath


Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue
Pour of tor and distances.
God's lioness,
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees!--
The furrow
Splits and passes, sister to
The brown arc
Of the neck
I cannot catch,
Berries cast dark
Black sweet blood mouthfuls,
Something else
Hauls me through air----
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.
WhiteGodiva, I unpeel----
Dead hands, dead stringencies.
And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry
Melts in the wall.
And I Am the arrow,
The dew that flies,
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red
Eye, the cauldron of morning.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ice in Champsuer

This w-end i decided a last-moment trip to Gap to try some ice on Ludo's invitation in the Champseur valley. Yes, there is ice there despite the absence of snow. It is even very similar to the famous Fournel and Fresiniere valleys, just on the other side of Ecrins. This was also the w-end when Laurent was publishing his new topo for the area that i got to feel and see. After a very nice welcome i managed to lead a couple of 3s and toprope a 5 (picture). My strength is definitely not here, especially for the approaches. My tools also feel old compared to the awesome new Matrix from Grivel. And leashes do suck!