Back to London after a fab week snowshoeing in the Southern Alps where we had a *lot* of snow and Arctic conditions ….. and although this meant we didn’t get all the advertised views and snow conditions curtailed our routes somewhat, you don’t miss what you don’t know.
We still got out and about and had an amazing time – ploughing our way through larch forests knee deep in snow, being dazzled by the pristine white landscape of the peaks and plateaus and the sparkling alpine scenery, tobogganing down hillsides and crossing sunken streams.
The day we spent on a figure of eight around the Rifugio Capanna Mautino was just magical – Costa Via Vecchia, Costa la Luna and Cima Saurel in the morning, and up to the Col Begino in the afternoon.
We got lots of avalanche / snow assessment training too from Yves, our fantastic guide and accompagnateur en montagne. Amazingly knowledgeable and great company too – he really made the trip.
Thankfully not much sign of snow once we were out of the mountains and driving back towards Turin at the end of the week, and back in my bit of Blighty the snow has all gone – missing out on The Beast from the East feels a bit like being out of the country when Princess Di died.
So, all in all, a really great trip – I am planning to find another snowshoe holiday for next Feb. Hopefully that won’t mean we all get Arctic weather again….
And despite the cold (-25°C one morning at the Mautino Hut, -24°C the next) I didn’t need to use Hazel’s down jacket. It turns out dry cold is very different from the damp version we’re more familiar with! I have to say that I was very pleased to have my Mountain Equipment mittens (wool fleece lined and waterproof – VIP given how many times I fell over in the snow and needed to do a downward dog to get upright again) and my Rab gaiters (Latok Alpine) with me though. I wore both bits of kit daily. My standard outfit was Uniqlo Heattech base layer, Uniqlo fleece zip up jacket, Goretex jacket (wind and waterproof), Gelert walking trousers, Kathmandu “Mammut” waterpoof trousers, plus gaiters, with a fleece hat, mittens and buff completing as needed.
Here are some photos to whet the appetite: more to follow once I do the Photos & Notes [<– now done!].