Ski Touring News Roundup July 2018

Post by blogger | July 16, 2018      
Villarica, Chile, 1980.

Villarica, Chile, 1980. Myself and Jerry Roberts were down there skiing the volcano, hitchhiking around. This was not one of our rides and that’s not Jerry, though considering the amount of time it took us to get around with thumb power it might as well have been, both. Hospitable pensions and a good ski were had. Click to enlarge.

Southern hemi is shaping up. Portillo looks thin, but Anton over at Ski Arpa, 26 miles to the west as the whirlybird flies, recently told me they’ve been getting good dumps to set up their cat skiing operation. Will the Andes winter deliver? Let us know if you’re down that way.

Opening ceremony Elan Skiing Museum.

Opening ceremony Elan Skiing Museum. Click to enlarge and check out the wooden bicycle with mounted skis, ready for petrol free transportation. I’m always fascinated with how so many alpinists and skiers of earlier days would sometimes bicycle three or four days between destinations. If this bicycle breaks you just get out your pocket knife and carve a new part so you can reach your ski tour in time.

I got an email from Elan announcing the opening of their skiing museum. While getting across the border from Austria to Slovenia requires proof you’re an alpinist, and they might want to check you for possession of lederhosen, if you’re cruising around western Europe consider stopping by. “In addition to a large tribute to alpine skiing, the museum exhibition also hosts displays for Elan’s other manufacturing divisions such as sailing vessels, airplanes, gym equipment and blades for wind power stations.”

Interesting reading if you’ve got the time. Up eastern way in Adirondack Park, the bureaucracy appears to be responding to the concerns of backcountry skiers. What will go from words to action, and what kind of action, is of course to be determined. Apparently a new management plan received a vote. Anyone know the outcome?

For those of you who might tend to ignore the ramifications of your own risk taking, this is a good article about that tired phrase “they were doing what they loved.” We love seeing people love what they’re doing…but realism about dangerous sports is perhaps a positive character trait?

What indeed is the greatest failure in mountaineering history? Back in 1978 my buddy Michael Kennedy teamed up with Jeff Lowe, George Lowe and Jim Donini for an attempt on an enormous technical wall route on Latok 1 in the Karakorum. If they’d succeeded, Donini claims “It would have been just another hard Himalayan climb lost in the dustbin of history.” I disagree. The quartet was ahead of their time. I like to think they were so far ahead they might as well have been Christopher Columbus attempting to sail to the moon. But unlike Christopher’s chances of success, the boys pretty much made it. In turning around just below the summit due to Lowe being seriously ill, they didn’t satisfy their own ethic of a complete route, nor did they meet the common criteria of the time. Thus, ever since that day folks have wanted to hand them the prize for being “first,” including myself, but in alpine culture the route is still considered unclimbed; footnoted with an amazing attempt. Summer reading: Boulder, Colorado writer Chris Weidner unpacks the legend. It took 4 days and 85 rappels. To get down.

Antitheses to the relative purity of above: people paying a bunch of money to climb the same route and summit as hundreds of others, and leave a pile of trash in the process. Perhaps they buy carbon offsets to bandage the guilt? More here.

Now for good news. Instead of pumping out their carbon effluvium in the U.S., bitcoin miners are favoring places where electricity is cheaper e.g., Venezuela. That might be part of the reason (at least according to this chart) our fair land shows the largest reduction in CO2 emissions of any country in the world. I heard someone is handing out wings and halos.


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14 Responses to “Ski Touring News Roundup July 2018”

  1. Jernej July 17th, 2018 2:00 am

    Lou, you’re close on the alpinist license but waaaaay off mark on the lederhosen. That clothing abomination still (!!?) lives north of the border. Luckily for us, we never wore them, apart from a few misguided souls. Must be the italian style influence.

  2. Jernej July 17th, 2018 2:03 am

    And if you’re visiting Elan museum, you might want to swing by the lovely Slovenian Alpine Museum about 30min away:
    This year is the 240th anniversary of the first climb to the top of mt. Triglav (the highest in country).

  3. Lou Dawson 2 July 17th, 2018 6:25 am

    Jernej, apologies for my take on the clothing, see the edit, and thanks for the feedback (smile). Lou

  4. Wookie1974 July 17th, 2018 7:44 am

    Hrmmm….Your disparaging comments re: Lederhosen….I am wearing mine as I type.


  5. Pascal July 17th, 2018 7:54 am

    Hi Lou, Lederhosen are worn in Bavaria, Austria, North Italy. If you are keen on seeing numerous avatars of them, pay a visit to Munich at the time of Oktoberfest. You*ii enjoy what is said to be the best, the worst AND the ugly at the same time. There is unfortunately no know correlation between wearing them and being nevertheless alpinist. If any of your rich treasury of alpine documentation prooves me wrong, I’d be considering wearing some the next day 😉
    Cheers from Munich

  6. Lou Dawson 2 July 17th, 2018 8:09 am

    Pascal, you have to allow us here in the U.S. to have our myths, don’t shatter us!

    Also, where all this originated is when I was checking out Davo Karnicar’s mountain lodge, and saw this picture of him in his leather shorts.

    As for lederhosen, thanks for the tips, but I’ve had many trips to Germany/Austria etc over the last ten years, and am well aware of that sartorial item.


  7. Lou Dawson 2 July 17th, 2018 8:20 am

    Jeez Wookie, where was I disparaging? I’ve actually always thought leather pants of any sort looked cool, especially when nicely beat up and used for work. Or, the dress-up version are cool as well. Didn’t Jim Morrison wear leather pants? Lou

  8. Wookie1974 July 17th, 2018 8:59 am

    Yeah – but Jim Morrison….I think that guy wore whatever he felt like.

    Lou Dawson would probably wear them too. But only in black. 😉

    Lederhosen are not actually traditional Bavarian clothing. (Maybe they are now.) They started as a fashion statement for well-to-do city dwellers in the late 19th century based – it is true – on much simpler clothing worn by peasants in the country.
    Any suggestion of this to a lot of Austrians and Bavarians is likely to start a fight.

    What can I say – I come from a family of tailors. My enthusiasm is genetic, I suppose.

  9. Geewilligers July 17th, 2018 11:46 am

    Very interesting Wookie!
    What was the traditional peasant garb called and constructed of?

    I did see some resort uphillers in lederhosen at garmisch this season. They looked so official on the resort skintrack!

  10. Jernej July 17th, 2018 11:58 am

    Oh well, my deep rooted hatred for the lederhosen got the best of me. Guess I should correct to “wouldn’t be seen dead in them” in this day and age, apart from a few misguided souls like Davo (who needs to play the part for the tourists) 🙂 Whereas, as you know well, they still seem to be quite common choice of garment north of the Karavanks.

  11. Wookie1974 July 17th, 2018 12:08 pm

    They were still called “Lederhosen” – which only means “Leather pants”….its just that they were not commonly made of the expensive deer hide that today’s high quality ones are, and they were unadorned, and nearly all black. (If you find old ones today they have nearly all gone white – because the coloring was a simple wood extract that has washed out.)
    They were worn in the 17th and 18th century, but had gone out of style by the 19th because short pants (even for men) were considered unchristian. Dandies of the late 19th century started wearing them for just this reason. (The church even tried to ban them) So – while everybody says they are “traditional” – your great-great grandfather probably wouldn’t have been caught dead in em.
    I like them well enough. They are…..interesting….and here in Bavaria, they are massively useful. You can wear them about the house. You can wear them to drink beer. Apparently – you can wear them ski-touring, and you can wear them to a wedding, a funeral, a meeting….and – even a costume party, I suppose. That alone makes them awesome.

  12. Geewilligers July 17th, 2018 2:08 pm

    Agreed, Wookie – thanks for the history lesson.

  13. bruno schull July 17th, 2018 2:12 pm

    I am delighted that today I learned something about lederhosen on Wildsnow. You simply never know what you will discover in the internet!

  14. Jim Milstein July 18th, 2018 7:33 pm

    Long, long ago, I wore them for a spell. I had forgot. I will forget again as soon as possible, hoping it doesn’t take decades. I don’t have that long.

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