This post might seem a little self serving and in a way you'd be right. A stroll down memory lane is always a great thing to do but not necessarily worthy of a blog post. Bear with me!
We all have our favourite photos. Usually take in our favourite places with our favourite people doing our favourite things. Family and friends, high jinks and happy times. Obviously I am no different and you won't be surprised to know that most of my favourite images are in the mountains and the image on the home page is my absolute fave (well so far!).
Taken on the Petit Envers descent onto the Mare de Glace in Chamonix by my dear friend and winter partner in crime Karla from Craigdon Mountain Sports in Perth. Karla is an awesome ski partner, we've had some great adventures and have three trips planned together for the 22/3 season already.
I love the shot because of its composition, its location, because Karla took it and it evokes lovely memories of a great week in Cham. A week that could and should have been an absolute bust. We had aspired to ski the North Face Descent from the summit of Mont Blanc.
Mother Nature had other ideas. Terrible weather, problematic avalanche conditions and a little apathy made us change our plans to ski touring pretty easy stuff on the valley instead.
Safety first. When I am ski touring with my pals we have some sacrosanct safety rules. So, although we always have a plan (sometimes ambitious), the plan is not in charge of us, we are in charge of the plan. If one of us isn't happy we stop, re-evaluate and come up with a new plan. It's not a democracy, if one person isn't happy we listen to that person. Lots of people get caught out in the mountains by following blindly, by ignoring their instincts, by ignoring other peoples instincts, being inflexible, wanting to achieve at all costs, not wanting to seem fallible and many more. All this before any competence (or lack thereof) is taken into account.
The week the photo was taken was one of the deadliest in the alps for a long time. Serious avalanche risk, storms and bad luck and judgment lead to many fatalities. Indeed on one of the days we were out touring there was a fatality within 500m of us on our way up the Col de Tour Noir above the Glacier De Amethyst. We were attempting to gain the Col when our barometers showed a fast drop in atmospheric pressure. The temperature was also dropping and the wind speed increasing. Not good. We decided that we needed to get off the hill and took our skins off and descended.
Another group didn't make the same decision and one of the party paid for that with their life. Sobering.
So, back to the reason for the post. Why is this my favourite photo?
Well, Considering the paragraphs above the week should have been a bust but it was a great week. One where I had a great time achieving not much. When I see the image I see more than just a great shot. I am reminded of my place in the mountains and the realisation with the way we had to conduct ourselves that week that I had matured as a skier. We rolled with the punches and came out unscathed. Made good decisions and came home to tell the tale.
Stay safe, listen to your pals, ski safe!