New Year in the Davos area - Alpine Legends

New Year in the Davos area

2 days ago and 1100 miles away I was sitting at my kitchen table in Edinburgh
and now I am setting foot in the town of Davos. It’s New Years Eve and the plan
is to go up to the Silvrettahütte – 5 hours ski touring from a remote car park in the
Davos area.

After a somewhat slow start we are clipped in and heading up the long flat snow
covered road to the Silvrettapass (I forgot my ski boots oops). The cloud is sucked
right in. It was something like -15c. Last night 20cm of fresh snow fell and we are
hoping there is going to be more higher up on the glacier.

We climb on for 2 hours and manage to gain some height and pop through
the thick cloud to see where are. At our final destination the sun is shining
and we are all excitably chatting about lines we could ski on the way down.
This was my first time in the area and already I was impressed with the
opportunities available but I was told I hadn’t seen anything yet.

A quick stop was made to set up our camp for the second night stay, which
would be in Bivy bags.

The next part of the mission – to get to the hut – turned out to take somewhat
longer than expected. We reached the highest point but we had to then ski
down to the hut at 6:00pm. It was pitch black and the stars and moon where
shining and it was as though we had torches above us when we were skiing
down to the hut. Everyone was tired but after 5 minutes of skiing in fresh
powder we were all smiling again.

6 am alarm buzzing – oh boy time to get up. Quick bowl of porridge and time
to get on to the glacier.

After such a long day yesterday and with some start of session aches and
pains we walk off the cobwebs and take in the stunning scenery around us.
The mission for the day had been to head up a peak by the name of Piz Buin
which may ring bell as a sun cream not a mountain. The story goes that an
Austrian chemist went to climb the peak and after 3 days of sun came back
badly sun burnt. From then on he made it his mission to invent what we now
know as sun cream today. It became apparent that we might not have the time
to get from the peak with the conditions looking icy so we changed objectives
and a decision was made to just get in some nice turns on the glacier.

I spot a couloir to our right when we are still climbing but am told by the rest
of the team to stop dreaming -how the hell did I think I was going to get up
there and ski it. Might just have to come back in spring and see what happens! 🙂

Quick lunch at the top and then it was time to ski down through the glacier.
The snow was amazing – about 15 to 20 cm of fresh light powder on a hard
smooth base made for fast conditions and great skiing- much better that
we had thought.

After some great turns we made our way back to the camp site, got the tea
on and talked about the day’s experiences.

As soon as dinner was over and the sun started to drop out of the sky the
temperature drops down to -12c and everyone made a fast move in to the
warmth of their sleeping bags. I had managed to slip in a wee bottle of
Whisky not the whole thing – just the amount that you need to help you nod
off to sleep at these temperatures.

Day 3

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep the team took some time to get
themselves out of the warmth of their bags and spent most of the morning
talking and drinking tea .We  did finally drag ourselves out and it was
knocking on 11 am .Time to get on the skis and get back to the land of the living.

The ski out was monotonous,  along a road and to our surprise one of the
local sledge drivers let us hitch a lift to make are 1 hour skate into a 10
minute roller coaster ride around the small snow covered roads.

3 days in the wilderness have made for a fantastical motivating start to the
year. 2008 was full of surprises and challenges and I feel ready for whatever
2009 has to offer. Bring it on.

Mike, The Scottish One

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