Saturday, May 27, 2006


As I mentioned, we had a short holiday recently. With the approach of rainy season (it's been raining almost non-stop for a month, but it's not "Rainy Season", just rainy!) we dashed off at the first sign of a few clear days to play in the last bit of snow - or so we hoped. It's been quite warm so we weren't quite sure what to expect.

We shouldn't have been so pessimistic. Due to the amazingly heavy snow fall there was over the winter (the most in 50 years, perhaps) the huts were still substantially submerged.

Our destination was Karawasa Col in the Kita Alps - a north-east facing corrie (so why do they call it a col?) that reliably keeps some snow right through the year. Last time we were there (last autumn), the path down the valley took us through some shrubby maple and rowan trees, with astonishing autumn colours, but limited views. This time...

...the trees were nowhere to be seen, blanketed under a huge layer of snow!

The main purpose of the trip was just to get some practice in steep snow, so we marched up the very steep 700m climb to the ridge where we had some food in the (virtually submerged) Hodaka sanso (about 1/3 from the RHS on that photo, not that it's visible). Then we had...

...700m of glissading back down to the col! Rather like Ben Lui in Scotland, but about 3 times bigger.

The huts were great this time - almost empty, so we had great service and two very comfortable nights. My only complaint is the panda-face sunburn of someone who foolishly underestimated the glare off the snow, and the smug sarcasm of a wife saying "told you so" :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm. We had a very warm winter here in SW Montana. There was virtually no snow in the valleys (I never had to put my snow tires on), but the mountains had a huge amount of snow. We did have a lot of *rain* in the valleys, so I am not surprised at your observations. We just had a high snowline this year, as NOAA predicted in the 09/05 outlook.