Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2015-2016

Retirement is still as much fun as ever

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

New snow in May: Le Noirmont

And splendid weather for it

Seizing the opportunity of a few inches of wet new snow, we're poised to set off from the western end of the Col de la Givrine (1 May 2016). That's the farm and ski-restaurant La Trélasse across the road.

The 'Little Red Train', en route from La Cure in France to Nyon on Lake Geneva

The temperature is right at zero centigrade, with more wet snowfall turning off and on momently.

Perhaps unwisely, no snowshoes today. It's May, after all.

The farm of Le Sollier (1290m)

Le Sollier; the cows will be coming up soon.

We persevere.

The farm of Les Coppettes (1323m), in a foggy kind of snow/rain

Beautiful stone walls

Les Coppettes, and the mountain called Le Noirmont (presumably 'black mountain') trying to loom in the background.

Les Coppettes

The advent of an idea . . .

. . . Why not see if we can get up Le Noirmont? (Off he goes!)

A decision quickly taken -- we used virtually to hang out on Noirmont, but (what with one thing and another) it's been seven years since the last time.

We're hammering on the memory button to recall how we used to get up there without undue inconvenience, but we may have to start trial-and-erroring all over again.

We're tentative in our commitment, because one of us has class preparations to get back to in a timely manner.

That, we seem to recall, is our best way forward.

Dr Joe does not require encouragements.

-- Now what?!?
-- Wait up for me and we can discuss it calmly.

Into the trees

Sprinting, almost; indefatigable

The fields of rocks are inconvenient in new wet snow, in terms of slipping, tripping, sliding, and coming a cropper. We're trying to stay away from the rocks, out on the slipprier wet grass. It's a difficult decision.

We're onto the top ridge, which continues upward level by level, for how far, how long? Time is passing; Dr Joe is becoming nervous about those class preparations.

We're agreed a few times already to get up the next level and see where we are, if possible. Having searched my aging memory, I've assured my colleague that the summit can be no farther away than a hour, but he feels that that's far too long.

Memory is often a useless faculty. I have no idea how much farther up the summit is, but I've convinced my colleague to let me clamber up that pile of rocks and take a last look ahead, just in case there's something recognizable.

It's not 'no more than an hour away', in fact; it's here. Memory!!

A call down; Dr Joe will join us promptly.

It's an awkward scramble up the rocks, but he's doing it far more gracefully than I did.

Naturally he's curious, but dubious.

But here it is. The top of the skilifts from France to the top (1547m); this was our destination for today, but in fact there's still another summit to Noirmont, with a proper cross on it (1567m), about 300m farther on. It looks like this . . .

That's the real summit, back in 2004

But with desperate time constraints, we're pleased to have got this far.

Note the fashionable pompom.

So down we go, we hope, and out of this bloody wind

We're looking for a more congenial way down, fewer potential ankle breakers, etc.

Not this way

-- No, sir, that would be a mistake. Come this way.

Along the top of the cliffs until a gentle descent presents itself if ever.

No attractive choices so far

Finally from my vantage, I can suggest something, and my colleague will investigate.

Generally downward

A few embarrassing mishaps, but no injuries. Very slippery grass underneath.

Seeking better alternatives

If one chooses wrongly while descending, one goes back up and tries somewhere else.
-- So get this right, Dr Joe.

We have the impression that we've spent more time shuffling down than hiking up.

Classes to be prepared, always.

Weird trees

Very weird trees, in fact

-- Are you coming, or what?

-- Yes, but look at these weird trees.

A slight change in the local weather conditions, and a long moment of doubt

-- Now what?

Silence. A moment of contemplation. "Now what?" indeed.

An uncharacteristic stroke of good luck: Dr Joe stumbles across our upward path. Even we can figure out what to do next.

The farm of Les Coppettes (unless we've really got turned round)

The long road home

Passing Le Sollier

Back to the car in good order

And so to home: the Nyon train station

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 4 May 2016.

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