Jnster: the story of an outdoors enthusiast in NYC and wherever he wanders...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Support your neigborhood

I didn't have anything to do this week end so I just rested, read, made phone calls to France and Germany, meditated....
Indeed, I have decided that during the last two weeks before the marathon I won't run anymore. That may not be the best recipe for a performance, but my right leg hurts so much that my only chance of not hurting myselft is to take it easy until race day...

So, it's funny because I realized I spent most of the week end time in my neighbordhood: grocery shopping, getting a hair cut, having lunch at my favorite Malaysian place, and even visiting Jenny and going to a free jazz concert on a plaza at Lincoln center (that was the far reaches of the Upper West Side ;-))

The concert was Sonny Rollins', who's still playing energetic music at the age of 76. I really liked the concert, it really relaxed me and being outside, it always brings some kind of special atmosphere. We were lucky with the weather, it didn't really rain, there was just some drizzle at times, and the omnipresent NYC summer humidity. Perfect evening temperature and great music (with Bossa Nova and African rythms influence)!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Latest series of pictures from France

Bionnassay hike and Vosges
Jul 10, 2006 - 8 Photos

Click on the image to see a selection of picture from the Alps and Vosges. Nothing hardcore this time, onlly gentle hikes :-)

I'm trying this new Picasa feature - Web Albums, until I am able to post pictures using my old method again...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

David has re-appeared!

David had been kind of missing since the beginning of his road trip. No news, nothing.
But he just appeared again, on the Internet, his nickname being now "Crazy French hitchhiker".
I can see he has been climbing lot with his new friends ;-)
I don't think we are in the same league now :-S

Unfortunately, it seems that the new beta blogger doesn't allow me to publish pictures anymore :-(

-- Update: it seems to be at least partially fixed.
So here's the picture I wanted to post: is this the next for David? Speed world cup climbing in Chamonix with the Russians. 6c flashed in 11 seconds anyone?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bonus: Premier Dome de Miage

Nicolas, Geoffroy and myself climbing the icy first dome, right before turning back Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

How to become a better climber (episode 4: Revenge over the Domes de Miage)

Stage 4: Last but not Least!
Do you remember? Last year, we had tried to ascend the Domes de Miage, and had to give up in the middle of a snow storm... How disapointing...
This year, I really wanted to try again, and Elise agreed to join! In addition to last year's Geoffroy and Nicolas; Elise, Richard, Beatrice and Max joined. Violaine was getting bored after climbing the Domes twice in a month. ;-)
Location: Domes de Miage, Les Contamines, France
Details of climb: 2 days of alpine climbing, the first day being a long hike to the Conscrits hut (+1400m) and the second day being the alpine climb itself (PD level), complete traverse of the ridge until the Aiguille de la Berangere, down to the hut and back to the valley floor (+1000m, -2400m)
Comments: Once again, a very nice ascent. Plus it is a bit of a legendary summit from me since it is one that we see perfectly from our chalet, every day of fine weather... This time we were lucky with the weather, as the temperature varied from warm to hot. We didn't know how far we had hiked the previous year (because of the fog), and discovered this year that we had been only to the foot of the col des Domes before we had decided to return.
This year, with rop team mates (Geoffroy and Nicolas), we steadily hiked on the glacier to the col, where we stopped, and then decided to ascend the first Dome. I was expecting something easy as Violaine didn't mention anything difficult. But in fact, we had to back track after only 100m as the narrow rigde was almost completely made of ice (as opposed to snow), and slopes on both ends looked dramatically steep! It was pretty scary.
So, back at the col, we waited for the other team rope, had a rest, and started to climb the second dome. That was steep, but snowy, hence easy. We took a couple more pictures, then continued on the ridge, past the 3rd and 4th dome. We were getting a bit tired, but until then there was no technical difficulty.
Then we started the descent to the col de la Berangere and it became really more difficult: steep slope and very icy in places, we had to be careful at every step.
It was then on to a mixt arete, up to the Aiguille de la Berangere's rocky summit. After that, it was an easy descent, we could remove the crampons, run and slide in the snow and Geoffroy pulled us on his rope: we could not stop him as he was running at full speed and the snow was to stop to use the ice axe.
We got down to the valley later in the afternoon, after a loooong descent, where the only technical part was the downclimbing of the newly installed ladders leading the Tre La tete glacier.
Overall, a beautiful 2 day alpine outing, where everyone enjoyed themselves. My special congratulations to Elise who did not get scared at the icy slopes and passed the ladders exercise very well!

Geoffroy and Nico

First Dome

Second Dome

First Dome and Mont Blanc as seen from the second Dome (you can see Nicolas's fearless Alsacian friend on top of the first dome) Posted by Picasa

More pictures from Stage 4

The full team on top of the 4th Dome

Richard-the-rapper , with Elise and Beatrice in front of aiguille de Bionnassay

Elise and Beatrice in the climb to the summit of Aiguille de la Berangere

Aiguille de la Berangere Posted by Picasa

More pictures from Stage 4

Max and Beatrice on the steep descent from the 4th Dome, click on the picture to see the trail more distinctly.
Glacier de Tre La Tete
Refuge des conscrits
Elise at the base of the col des Domes Posted by Picasa

More pictures from Stage 4

Classic picture of third Dome

Third Dome

View from the "easy" ridge

Col and Aiguille de la Berangere Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How to become a better climber (episode 3: the phantom menace)

Stage 3: confirm that I can do long multi pitch ascensions, and bring Richard him, for his longest multi pitch ever.
Why the phantom menace? ;-) Because the storm was threatening us for a long time and we were evenrained on for 1 minute... And climbing on wet limestone is not the most pleasant experience from what I've been told.
Location: Le Sappey, Thones, France
Details of climb: 13 real pitches of limestome, averaging 5/5+ and up to 6a+
Comments: Very nice climb. I need to thank my mother and Max to take us there again :-) I climbed with Richard, and felt strong enough to lead 10 pitches I think (I have to be careful to remember to tell the real story ;-). I felt very good, we were all thrilled by the climb that was featuring beautiful cannelures again, and all styles of climbing. As (un)pleasant bonuses, the approach was 1 hour long, very steep and it was really hot and muggy. The descent, which itinerary is hard to find (It's a good thing we had Beatrice and Max as our guides), was impressive, on grassy paths overlooking the void, and then fun, sliding in rocky talus.

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More pics from stage 3

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More pics from stage 3

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Life is soooo hard...

I spent an extraordinary dinner with my colleagues yesterday at Battery gardens, a restaurant at the southern tip of Manhattan. It feels good to be part of a succesful company that can afford such corporate events...Imagine being along the water, cooled by a pleasant breeze, with the best view (from Manhattan) of the New York bay, statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.Plus the menu: top quality soft crab cakes, Chilean sea bass and a strawberry parfait, accompanied by Veuve cliquot champagne, Pouilly fuisse and a delicious Californian Chardonnay (that, I have to admit, was even better than the Pouilly Fuisse).I was really amazed at the quality of the food and drinks! It was really a night to remember...
Ok ok ok, before I get too many bad comments, I confess, I am a bad evil capitalist and materialist person.... Whatever...
By the way, the weather forecast announces what will probably be the hottest day of the year tomorrow: Google says 41C, weather.com predicts 36 (feels like 42) and Accuweather 36 (feels like 45!). Right now, at 10:42 pm, it is 33 (feels like 38!). Hope I will survive....