I had a group from Petroc College again, formally the North Devon College, where students study a 2 year outdoor education course culminating in a Diploma in Outdoor Education.
Kai heading up the 1st pitch on Cascade Stassaz, Megeve
Mike Bazley, the driving force behind the course & the Alpine trip each year manages to get funding for the students so that they all get the chance to come out for 2 weeks & learn to ski, get an understanding of skiing as a profession, all get a day’s introduction to ice climbing, learn more about the profession of being a Mountain Guide & generally working in the mountains & get work experience looking after their chalet for a day.
Mike on the 2nd steep pitch Cascade Stassaz, Megeve
It’s a fantastic & for a few each year, a life changing experience for the students who wouldn’t otherwise ever get a chance like this to travel & open their eyes to other professions & sports like learning to ski, ice climbing & to just generally soak up living in an Alpine Chalet for 2 weeks.
I took a few students each day who could all rock climb & had done a couple of winter skills days in Scotland, but had never ice climbed outdoors before.
Nicola enjoying her first climbs on ice
We had a great time, all the students were really motivated & keen to learn, as well as really ‘Wanting it’ - when the arms were tiring but the top of the icefall was in sight!
Megan 'Wanting it!' on the steep righthand variation to the 1st pitch
The ice held out surprisingly well over the week considering the daytime temps which was around 16degrees in the sun! It’s a really cold sink at the top of this small valley where the icefall had formed & a venue I’ll keep up my sleeve during other warm spells when conditions elsewhere are poor & I’m in & around Chamonix.
Back in the UK now & enjoying some time at home.
I worked the Leysin ‘Salle de Bloc’ as much as I could when I was away, linking circuits together to try & keep the climbing fitness going. Now home I’m back into the Fly Cave as it’s been wet & looking forward to getting out on the rock again as soon as the weather perks up. Hopefully the training will have paid off! If nothing else I’ve really enjoyed this winters training & feel fitter & stronger through just working the circuits than I did this time last year after just working the roped climbs. It’s also been great just changing it around a little & doing something different – it’s what I needed.