Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Snow Video

Watch out world, the next contender for 'Best Film' at next years' Oscars has just landed!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Auron and Isola 2000.

Sun. Much Sun!

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Dave

Last week, Steffi and I met up with her parents Joy and Jerry, for a week of Skiing in the Alps Maritimes resort of Auron, with a day over at Isola 2000 for good measure. Steffi was on her new Burnin' Luv K2s which were aparently amazing and she definitely improved in confidence through the week, mostly skiing reds and a few black runs too... I had a blast and did as much jibbing and falling over as I could - even with the crunchy off piste conditions, I managed to have some fun and one or two soft tree runs next to the pistes and got in a few runs through the snowpark. Mostly we sped around, though, hammering as fast as we could and terrorising people, which was very satisfying.


Boards

It was French Half Term, so busier than normal, but it also meant entertainment and we were treated to two firework displays, night skiing, a jump competition viewable from our apartment and all sorts of other extravaganzas... No-one hurt themselves which was good and J+J had some nice relaxed runs to keep their toes in.... Excellent.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

L'equipe vache

the ibrakeforcake team has a spin off, a sub team if you like in the guise of Richieboy's lil sis, Rachel and mates.

L'equipe vache (yes, team cow) endured the 12 hour train to Grenoble to hit les Deux Alpes for a weeks skiing (in my case, snow plowing). My only fall was endured falling over my wheelie bag on the way into the chalet on the first day and other than that there were no mishaps - other than Sam not ever being able to get up off the ground, Sy dropping his phone from a chairlift, Zara flunking on a jump so much you could hear people laughing from the chair lift and our dishwasher flooding bubbles across the whole chalet. The weather was perfect - skies so blue we often felt the need to stare at the sky and say `Live Young, L'Evian` repeatedly and the apr├Ęs ski lived up to it's reputation (note to self; do not attempt skiing after drinking on tequila ever again). A very merry week was had by all.

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Just one thing...wheres the action shots guys? Rach, next time i wanna see some air!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brecons Again

With our New Years resolution of personally funding the Severn Bridge in mind gem and I decided we had better make another trip to Wales, destination-Brecon Beacons.

With llyn y Cellyn YHA booked up again, following a pleasant stay last time-we headed for the Black Mountain on Saturday morning for our planned route up to Fan y Brecheiniog, this being the highest point of the Black Mountain. Upon arriving captain navigation aka Finter managed to succesfully send us both up the wrong track, only to then decide it would be much better to cross country back onto course rather than face the shame of walking back to the carpark. It was clear and sunny after all! Couldn't be easier-all we've got to do is head over there, well apart from the gauze bushes and river that is. With some splendid back country behind us we got back onto what was a bit of a tourist track, but with a bit of grunt we put that behind us and got out onto the hillside where things quietened down a bit and we enjoyed the stunning views along the ridgeline. Our route took us up to the to and then back down a lesser travelled track where we saw not a soul until reaching the carpark again at the end of the day. Most notable was the presence of some bloomin great Red Kites which I was most impressed with but Gem failed to photograph with her mole like reactions!!

We then spent an eveining in the YHA with shall we say-a very interesting bunch of characters before packing up for our Sunday route up Fan Y Big...

This was more of a Sunday stroll than anything being a very friendly incline but with the Sun beaming and absolutely stunning views it was fantastic. We even found what seemed to passers by to be an amazing spot to stop for cake-little did they know we were just cop outs following a route in Trail which even suggested the perfect spot to stop for lunch.....of course we nodded smugly when people passed by our grassy knoll and said-"nice spot".....all our own idea you see!

nice lake

Gem-Fan Foel

Fan Foel

mmmm arty

lunch spot

diving board

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nothing much to report!

No stories of extreme sporting pursuits or exciting kit purchases I'm afraid. However in the past two weeks I've eaten jellyfish tentacles, chickens feet and pig's stomach lining. Extreme enough I think!

On another matter, is anyone interested in re-enacting Morzine 2006 this summer? Bigger, better, faster?

J'ai suisse!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kit

This year has started with a few major kit purchases and as all IBFC peeps likes the shiny things in life, people are collecting and eying up some rather special purchases. Rich wants a Macpac bag, I want one of those spangly zip down the front Grivel jobbies, Chris has his eye on a Chalet and after buying a Frostline Moutain Equipment down Bag and some new winter boots, Finter is not allowed to buy anything more for Lent! I added heavily to my kit bag over Christmas, with some excellent gifts and purchases, from the TK maxx bargain of the Big Wall Berghaus salopettes (for which I am being mercilessly ribbed, but they were just too good to leave!), new B2 boots, a new Vaude jacket and a Rab Vapour Rise soft shell, as well as replacement gloves for my holey Lowe Alpines...



Image from Rab's website: http://www.rab.uk.com/

Its these that concern me, as I replaced these base layer gloves with, what I thought were an absolutely excellent purchase in the Rab power stretch glove. Warm, amazingly good fit and with nice big Rab logos so I look better than I am! But some one mentioned to me recently that Rab's manufacturing standards have dipped a little since they moved to China and I'd have to agree, as within two months both gloves have developed a stitching failure and I've sent them back.... I just hope that the soft shell jacket that is really warm and I love, doesn't suffer the same problems.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Welsh Onslaught!

God, I ache! Absolutely spot on weather and some serious motivation made for an amazingly action packed weekend and I feel knackered...

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Saturday dawned smelly from the Chaumes cheese in my rucksack, sitting next to the hot water tank and by 06:30 we were, aigain, assaulting our senses and getting headaches from the leaking exhaust fumes of my car as we sped to North Wales. We tooled up and set off for the Cneifon Arete, starting below it in Cwm Idwal, going up the greasy Idwal Staircase before breaking left at the top part of the Idwal Slabs, continuing on one of the 'diff' routes where we got the rope out for on spicy move!


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Next, it was on to the Cneifon Arete (I finally got to wear my new helmet, on this severe Alpine excursion!!! Not.) and I lead the first pitch with a few runners which really wasn't that bad except for the random route I'd taken to avoid some other climbers. The deviation produced an exposed traverse for which I and Rich after me, was glad to have had the rope on - it made me feel better with Daryl's hand not up to strength, too. It should be noted that he did admirably well and much better we'd expected with all we encountered. After this first pitch, we progressed up the Arete, moving together off the rope and it was great to have some exposure with some more difficult moves towards the top section where you really felt that you were suspended above Cwm Cneifon and got an amazing view of the Llyns and Pen Yr Ole Wen.

After a hearty slap on the back and big grins, we headed off down Y Gribin towards Idwal Cottage, where my haste got the better of me and I underestimated the drop down off a boulder and tore the crotch clean out of my trousers as I went, much to the amusement of the others and shock off all other walking parties we then encountered!

Time was now against us as we got into the car and drove back along the A5 to park below Cwm Tryfan, change bags and 'race' back up to the Llyns to the east of Tryfan for our wild camp. Never has a walk up been so labored with heavy packs and our feet were seriously dragging, but with a burst of motivation from Sir Ranaulph Finter and the knowledge that we could eat and rest on arrival, we fair monstered the 600m or so to the top in 1hr20! We found a stunning site that wasn't too boggy and pitched up, got the down bags out and made a well deserved boil in the bag meal... After some hot toddy and a few rounds of Mared Tete we turned in at 8:30 ish under a beutiful starry sky.

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Sunday was cold and we took our time to enjoy our surroundings and get going, heading back down past the crowds at Alphabet Slab, where we'd thought about spending our day, but it was too busy, so out with the scrambling book and plans were made for the east ridge up Y Garn from Cwm Idwal. It has to be said that this was another corker, with some good exposure and some worrying moments, especially when you realise the body sized piece of undercut rock your pulling on is loose!! However, all was ok and we moved quite confidently, topping out about an hour and a half after we started. We enjoyed the view and snow on the top of Y Garn, then headed off to join the traffic jam back to England.


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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Ramblers

Just got back from walking 22miles on the south downs way from Butser Hill to Winchester avec hangover. Don't know why and feel like a rambler now-but twas better than sitting indoors-photo of Yak to follow....