2013
Oct 07

Interviews with badasses – an attempt to uncover some reality in the media-hyped world of ski heros. People who have pushed the limits of skiing with little fanfare.

Steep Skiing is totally subjective. Every line is unique. There are great lines, but there is no greatest or best.  In this non-competitive atmosphere, we can sit back and admire what others are skiing. We can treat Steep Skiers the same way. Every skier has a unique history and experience. Peter Schon is certainly an outlier among outliers, and his role in the history of ski mountaineering is hard to nail down.

He’s skied in places, off mountains, and down routes that most expert ski mountaineers wouldn’t have the imagination nor the desire to even bother (myself included). Some of his 1st descents are part genius, part madness. He has a willingness to endure the suffering of self-supported missions, and thus ventures FAR off the beaten path. Skiing lines that demand multiple high camps, which lead to incredible exposure to the elements and skiing steeps with a brutally heavy pack.

On an impressive side note, Peter completed his Masters at SFU in Vancouver, is continuing his PHD in snow studies in Vienna, ski guides winters in Norway, wins awards for his black and white photography, engages in various photo projects documenting refugees in Georgia and Armenia, and regularly spends time with his girlfriend in Armenia.

So here’s an interview with one of the unique characters of our sport:

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Sep 20

Added the latest line from last New Years to the guide: the Kenyan.

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armenian 1

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.

chatyn4

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
chatyn10

Red arrow marks the spot

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Jun 29
chatyn20

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 23

Pakistan

By Trevor 2013, Pakistan Comments Off

 pak5

I’ve been meaning to search through the old slide collection and do some trip reports on my travels to Pakistan, but with the latest developments at Nanga Parbat I pulled out some favourites that bring back all the amazing memories.

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