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A week in the Valaisan Alps, 1995

The year is 1995, the day is crappy.  Mr Charles Berman and Mr Steve Mackenzie have come to Switzerland to breathe the clear mountain air and ski for a week in the canton of Valais. 

Day 1: Ski up to the Grand St. Bernard

And on the first day, a snowstorm and white-out: 20 March 1995.

But they're ready to go anyway. Here they are setting out for the Col du Grand St. Bernard, which is up there to the left . . . or more over towards the right . . . or maybe . . . or, or maybe not.

Joined by Mr Peck, pretty much lost as usual -- so Mr Mackenzie points the way towards the goal, the Col du Grand St. Bernard. Just UP will have to do.

-- This way?

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Luckily, a safety refuge halfway up offers a pleasant place for a nice lunch.

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A chilly day in the Valaisan Alps, as the fog lifts, or gets left behind

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And as the Grand St. Bernard comes in sight, the weather lightens.

Mr Mackenzie still pointing upward, as a kind of reflex, but from here we're just taking a jog over to . . .

. . . the Italian side. No room at this inn. Locked up tight.

-- Turn around and smile, boys.

Right, that's fine, that's it for today, now it's time to go back down. Where's our track, eh.

-- Over this way.

Back to the white-out


The Lötschenthal

Then, after a day of cross-country skiing on piste in the Saas valley . . .

. . . a trip up the Lötschenthal, starting at the end of the road, the village of Blätten (1534m).

Parading about the village of Blätten looking for the trailhead: 22 March 1995

The end of the cross-country ski tracks at a little restaurant at Fatleralp (1763m).

Here's the Lötschenthal, looking up onto the Langgletscher glacier towards Hollandia Hut on the backside of the Jungfrau.

Profs Peck and Berman, near Hollandia Hut, ready to start back down and thinking . . . "pub".

The mysterious buried village of the Lötschenthal. What DO these people do for a laugh?

Goodbye to the Lötschenthal

The gents were spending the week at a borrowed chalet high above Brig in the canton of Valais, joined by Mme L. Durham, who was not, however, on holidays and studied throughout the week.

But now, after some more cross-country skiing in the Obergoms valley . . .

. . . like this, it's time to vacate the premises and . . .

Leysin

go back to Leysin. (Or above Leysin, in fact.)

Mr Mackenzie then of Maine, USA [later of the South Pacific], skiing a well-trodden path up towards the Tour de Famelon near Leysin, Switzerland, 24 March 1995. People who are unfamiliar with the Leysin region may be surprised to know that the big rock in the upper left, the Pierre du Moëllé, is hollow and filled with old Swiss army gun emplacements.

Mr Berman leads from Moëllé towards the Rochers de la Latte on back side of the Tour du Famelon, March 1995.

A pause: Mr Mackenzie and Mr Peck

Another pause, same two fellows -- the wonderful Tour de Famelon behind.

At Elio's restaurant, Le Grotta, in Leysin, spring 1995: Prof Berman, Mr Peck, Mr Allan Rankin, and Mr. Mackenzie.

This is one of our last good pictures of Allan (center), who passed away in early 2003 after having pretty much created the Classic Anglophone Leysin with his Club Vagabond in the early 1960s.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 31 October 1999, revised 8 October 2006, 15 March 2014.


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