Monday, 27 June 2016

The Academy and around the bend

Last week, I once again had the pleasure of joining in the Arc'tertyx Alpine Academy in Chamonix. It's basically a fondue of great people with good attitudes, who just want to get into the mountains and play.

Sometimes these same people get up to mischief...

Cham is great because in spite of the bustling tourism scene,  it's got some character, like my favorite mountain shop, Technique Extreme - it's in the name.


All manners of different styles and techniques are used in Cham, like this guy who really likes his quickdraws.

People really like to go and get some here...

After the Academy, I jumped in a van with Jesse Huey, Vikki Weldon, Paolo Marazzi, Ines Papert and Seppi Pfnur (there were two vans in fact) and drove a couple hours to beautiful Cadarese, Italy.


Cadarese is so delightful! the climbing is on great gneiss full of splitter cracks and the local flavors are really rich.
This fellow was the real deal

Paolo was our ringleader, his specialty is skiing but he attacks the stone with a vigor that reminded me of myself as a young man.  I learned a lot of new Italian words from Paolo...



                                    Giulia Monego another bad ass skier who crushes rocks

                                                                Jesse on a rowdy groove

                                                        Vikki on the Arco with Matteo and Jesse



Yosesigo: Italian for Amazeballs!  The splitters here were all time, this route Paolo is starting up, Super Simpson goes on my all time top ten list.
Ange and Vikki, chillin' at the crag

Riky Felderer, local crag developer and lensmaster.

Village life was as good as the cragging


A cheese truck would turn up when you needed it most.


But the easy pace of rural living had to come to a close, so we hightailed it for Courmayeur and headed to the Torino Hut in search of big rocks.

 Big Rock Candy Mountain


The joys of the early morning carfuffle

Hut life was also civilized: Jesse stays updated and a French man expresses himself through Yoga


I teamed up with Vikki for a lap on the Trident du Tacul.  The line called Bonne Ethique follows the most continuous splitter system

Jesse and Ines on the neighbouring Grand Cappucin

 Stiff warm up for pitch 1

Vikki crushing the crux pitch 2

Again on pitch 4

You get the idea...

Climbing high above a glacier on a tower of rock dressed like a European is my life's passion


On our final day, Ines and I snuck in a flight from the Brevent.

The vistas from the d├ęcollage were majestueux!

From the landing field it was not too bad either


Europe is soooooooooo good!

Grazzi Mille!!!!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Working on Fiji Time

         With an irresistible offer to work in Fiji, I saddled up the duffels and rounded up some of Squamish's finest braves to join a Hollywood production making TV magic in this sub-Equatorial haven of chill.   Few places slow the tempo like the tropics, the stifling humidity and the "I don't need money, I just caught a fish and picked a Mango today" work ethic, really makes one wonder why stress is even a thing.  Nonetheless, TV is a bustling business and a full production schedule of 12 hour days really made this outing feel more like work than pleasure.

            Then again, one man's work is another woman's leisure. The boys fanning Nefertiti.

Will, hard at work under the scrupulous eyes of the Fijian OSHIA regulatory commission

                                Luke - Godfather of Fijian Rope Access.  Hemp rope, check 


The workplace was generally quite safe as evidenced by this dumptruck, Tony directing traffic


Our real life Director extraordinaire Rupert, scouting a trademark Fijian waterfall


                                              Working in the Suva market sorting clams


An easy day of work; hunting Fruit Bats, these things actually taste pretty good when curried

Will and Luke enjoy a leisurely day of rock scaling. Not quite the Exshaw open pit vibe

  This lady was working  for pleasure.  She's pounding the Kava root to produce a potent beverage


Kava ceremonies can go either way, drinking a few cups results in a mild buzz and tingling of the tongue, gulping double digit "high tide" volumes can lead to nausea, vomiting and a miserable hangover.

Buying Kava is a bit like a shady back alley drug deal, but with nice people! 

                                                                                   Fishing

                                                                         Fish on Chips

It wasn't all work, we met some pretty sweet people...






The locals had an infectious friendliness that was hard to deny.  Kids grow up pretty quick though



This guy is an authentic  20th generation SUP'er.  Why has it taken so long for the rest of the world to catch on?

Speaking of authentic, our man Tang's tribal Tattoos were not done to get psyched for the Tough Mudder Race series.




We had some fun on our scant days off. Here's Hoop learning to kite in strong, but irie laminar winds.

                                                                                Du Surf

                                                                            Sky Surf

                                             Upper Navua Canyon: Mystique...

Luke soaring at "Hill 364" We named this site after the Donny's Ashes scene in Big Labowski "The men who gave their lives at Kasan, Londok and Hill 364..."  Also, it was about that high above sea level- in feet.

Sweet Fijian air.

                                               Sometimes Hill 364 was rowdy!




                                                 Orchids in Fiji are no big deal...



                                                                       Thank you Fiji!