We are all Vikings now…

The authors scopes lines from the hot tub in Olafsfjord, Iceland….what? you never scoped a route in a mankini? One of the great things about backcountry skiing is that it lets you explore cool parts of the world that you may not otherwise have thought to visit if they didn’t promise fresh snow and untracked lines. Last year fellow Avalanche Geek and ‘Titan of Touring’  (he really hates that title bestowed upon him by Fall Line magazine, so obviously I refer to it as often Continue reading →

Youth Culture

We’ve handed over our blog this week to Chris Galley. It’s an account of an avalanche accident that he was involved in recently in the St Gervais side country. At 16 years of age he’s the youngest student to have attended an Avalanche Geeks Level 1 course. Bruce and I were really unsure how much of the course input stuck with the young man…apparently quite a lot. Well done Chris, I’ll ride the backcountry with you anytime…. I was skiing wth friends and had decided Continue reading →

Early Season Roundup

As January draws to a close its time for a pause in the Avalanche Geeks season. All of our Alps courses are completed and the Scottish courses about to start. Bruce is currently draining seemingly endless low density powder in Japan…while I’m watching the snowpack dissolve before my eyes on the Cairngorm Mountain webcam. Rats!   It’s been a really busy start for us this year. Tignes has become our favourite early season venue to run the Avalanche Geeks courses thanks to it’s reliability for Continue reading →

Gear of Desire. A 1980’s retrospective

Back in the 80’s the northern English town where I grew up had an ethnic clothing store.  It was packed with tie dye scarfs, Che Guevara T-shirts and continuously pumped the smell of patchouli oil out of its front door. It was located adjacent to a second hand record shop (bear with me younger readers…I appreciate that these are some alien concepts) where I would browse through the back catalogues of Led Zeppelin, Boston and Dio….does anybody remember Dio?  Really you shouldn’t – they were Continue reading →

Kenton & Me

The global mountaineering superstar Kenton Cool recently released his autobiography detailing his climbing exploits. On the dust sleeve of the book Sir Ranulph Fiennes is quoted as saying something along the lines of Kenton being the greatest mountain chap that ever was, and anyone saying different is a damned fool. Exciting stuff then. I’m waiting for the audio book version. Maybe Brian Blessed will narrate it… The climbing press’s adoration for Kenton has always struck me as somewhat odd. Not because his achievements aren’t worthy; Continue reading →

Lost in Translation – Big lines in the Chamonix valley

Have you ever seen the movie Lost in Translation? It’s a film about disconnection and a longing for something you can never have. In it Bill Murray says to Scarlet Johansson. “It gets easier as you get older, and you know who you are and where you want to be. The pain doesn’t affect you as much”. I bring it up, as this was a bit how I was feeling as April slipped away. The feeling of disconnect is a common malaise felt by those Continue reading →

Reflecting on Risk

As AvalancheGeeks looks to wrap up our avalanche courses for the season, and the persistent weak layers within the alpine appear to be entering a dormant stage (those deeply buried avalanche dragons now lurking in the basement will appear again later in the season, be sure of that), perhaps now is a good time for reflection on what we’ve delivered on our courses and its value, after all, without reflection, there can be no improvement. Reflection indeed, as this season the Alps have gone through Continue reading →