Dwight Peck's personal website
urge to snowcave
you're hooked, you can't go back. Time-sharing vacation accommodations, always
ready and waiting for you. Just find a place, January or February, within a few
hours ski-up where nobody in their right mind ever goes, pop in your little cave
(1 hour for survival, another hour to make it really nice and commodious), and
you've got a scenically impressive home-away-from-home whenever you want to ski
on up there, until about late April.
is the Truex, way above Leysin,
Switzerland, the wonderful Tour de Mayen in the background. Observe that nice
clean ski line across the front. On the far side of this large bunch of rocks,
nobody (sane) ever goes in the winter, and that's your ideal location for your
here's a likely spot, in late afternoon. Notice that wind-created snowbank behind
the rock outcrop -- excellent snowcave country. Let's dig a cave.
as night closes in, our accommodations are ready. No worries, and absolutely free
of charges and VAT.
as we snuggle inside our little refuge, aren't we cosy? With our Trib, as
long as the batteries hold out.
we settle down, in embarrassingly silly equipment, and get comfortable for a good
dose of the daily news of the world in the incomparable International Herald Tribune.
memory serves, this was a particularly good issue of the Trib, some third-world
country was in flames again, it was perfectly riveting, but at the end of the
day, it's time to turn in -- choose a good Walkman tape, pack down the snowbed
and toss and turn for a while until it's really comfy . . . well, it's never really
comfy, but never mind.
next day dawns excellent weather, and we rig up for some short expeditions skiing
and cramponing up the local peaks and maybe a couple of crossword puzzles whilst
catching the sun out on that rock outcrop. A couple of stress-less days
pass thus, and very welcome they always are!
alas, a few days later, we come up with a right snowstorm
and heavy fog, and all those participants who shrink from spending their holidays
in a 2.4 by 0.79 meters room with only one window, with heavy snow blowing into
it, are preparing to pull out for the bright lights of the city.
may all find Western Civilization profoundly disappointing on the larger questions,
but when it comes to getting warm again, count me in.
to go home before this little paradise fills up with new wet spring snow and we
end up having to spend the next eight days here with little to eat but our skis.
So we stuff this half-ton of odds and ends into a pack, and go talk to people
for a week or two, and then come back and dig the entrance out again. Until
late April, when a chamois plunges through the roof and ruins the snowcave, and
we have to wait until next year.
a view of the way back up to the Col de Famelon from our traditional snowcaving
hide-away, then off to the right and back down towards Leysin village.
earlier foray, 1984, above Leysin, Switzerland.
to look pretty good -- this time, big enough for two people.
down the ceiling, so the little pointy bits don't drip water on you during the
the progress, stuck in the door like Pooh Bear
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All
rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 22 July 1998, revised 30 June 2012.