Georgia
Aug 02

His photos got a great response, so I’ve procured some more from his long history of Caucasus climbing and skiing. Enjoy.

Once again, his website is:  www.ps-photo.net

Pictures 1,2,and 3 – Janga-Tau : Taken during the ascent and partial ski descent from the summit of Janga-Tau (5058m, Bezengi Wall, Georgia/Russia), from Georgian side, with Robert Koschitzki.
All taken with the Leica X1.

Janga-Tau (4)

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Jul 25

All the following photos are from our recent trip to Georgia. Whereas my photos represent more of what happened and what was seen on the trip, Peter’s photos represent the emotions that exist behind the scenes. For me, his photos capture the frailty of climbing and skiing in the high mountains. The total darkness of the night, the frustration or helplessness of a storm, and the absurd steps we go through to experience the mountains.

Peter is actually a photographer. Whereas people like me just point and shoot more or less and pray that Lightroom can clean up the mess. He uses two range-finder cameras with fixed lenses mounted on each of the shoulder straps of his backpack. Pretty cool. Cheers to Peter for the photos. For more photos, check out his website:   www.ps-photo.net    and Flickr page:   www.flickr.com/people/ps_photo/

From Peter: “Photos 1,2 and 3 I took with a Contax T3 film camera (fixed Zeiss Sonnar 2.8/35mm lens), with a Heliopan yellow filter and loaded with Ilford FP4+. Negatives are self-developed (parents’ bathroom, in ID-11 stock solution), and were scanned with a Hasselblad X1 virtual drum scanner.”

 

1

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Jul 01

This is the final Georgia post. Cheers if it’s blazing hot where you are with no thoughts of skiing on your mind, and yet you’ve continued to read my posts! Apologies if you’ve just stumbled upon this blog and you end up reading the whole story backwards. I’d suggest clicking on the Georgia category and then scrolling to the end, so as to start from the beginning.

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We couldn’t get this face out of our minds, it was just built for skis.

So we’re headed home! Or are we?

Initially we planned to ski another line the day after, since clear weather was forecast. But after our epic it seems out of the question. Out of habit, Peter starts to take stock of our leftover food. If we share the last remaining bars, we could squeak out another line. But I’m too destroyed to think about it.

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Jun 30
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Red arrow marks the spot

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Jun 29
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Ice, bad visibility, steep angles . . . all the ingredients necessary for ‘real’ big mountain skiing

One of the perks of living on the Coast, is that my winter was filled with many steep lines. But I encountered amazing snow conditions all winter, so every descent was pretty mellow. Powder allows a lot of people with a wide range of abilities to enjoy steep skiing. Whereas the top of the couloir on Chatyn is a sheet of ice. You can’t fake it here. Technique has to be airtight.

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Jun 26
chatyn10

Chaytn-Tau on the right. Our intended couloir is pretty obvious. A large portion of the line disappears below.

The night before, Peter skins to the base of the cliff at the bottom of our line to collect water from a little waterfall. As this ant-like figure make his way up the bottom of the face, I get a physical idea of how big our line is: 1900 meters (6230 feet).

We wake up a 2:30am as usual. Finally clear skies! But for myself, immediately shit goes wrong. I’ve lost my headlamp again. Two guys over six feet tall, with all their wet ski gear piled everywhere in a one man tent, makes it hard to find stuff. For only the second time in almost 15 years of expeditions, I totally lose my patience. The claustrophobia of the tent finally gets to me. I’m soon tossing all my stuff out onto the snow, and I don’t care if it gets wet, or how cold I get eating breakfast outside. I’m just done with that tent (sorry for the freakout peter).

After finding my headlamp, packing my stuff for the day, realizing my crampons had somehow loosened since I last wore them, and swearing at tons of other random shit, we set off up the face. As soon as the climbing begins, my mind settles and I focus on my pacing.

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Jun 25

Chatyn-tau: Day two and three

By Trevor 2013, Georgia Comments Off

Day two: We wake up at 2:30am, and every hour thereafter. Still raining. The clouds had come in over night. Our relatively low base camp is testing the waterproofness of our tent. At least there is no wind. We spend as much of the day outside as possible.

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Some potential

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Jun 20

Chatyn-Tau: Day one

By Trevor 2013, Georgia Comments Off
chatyn01

A border post guards the valley at the start of the bridge. Bring your passport!

So we had spotted our line. But what was the peak called? How do we get to it?

Luckily Peter has a bunch of maps on hand, and the ability to read Russian. We soon discover that the peak in question is Chatyn-Tau (seems to be pronounced ‘shatoon’), and the approach was a short drive from our house.

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Jun 19

Intermission: Day two

By Trevor 2013, Georgia Comments Off

Certainly don’t want to get too boring describing my down-days. But I feel it represents steep ski expeditions: a roller-coaster of highs and lows, and often waiting through long stretches of bad weather with ample time for doubt and frustration. But the skies usually do clear, and the glory eventually does come . . .

We wake up. Torrential rain. Peter says it’s weather that belongs in April, not May. Thunder even. Momentary gaps in the clouds allow us to spy on the snow line. But there is no snow line! Maybe it’s raining to the top of our prospective line. Hope is dwindling.

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Jun 18

Our failure on Tetnuldi and the overall shitiness of the weather is putting a damper on the trip. It’s hard to judge the success or failure of a expedition, especially when you have no planned objectives. As with most of my trips, I just follow the “shred everything you can see” philosophy.

Before Tetnuldi, it seemed like we had all the time in the world. But afterwards, it feels like we’re running out of time and so we decide to plan for only one more mission.

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