Journey through the Alps

 

The Alps


Introduction

This is a day-by-day account of a multi-year ski tour following the entire arc of the European Alps from Menton on the French Mediterranean coast to Vienna. There was one simple rule from the outset: no use of vehicle transport or ski lifts. The entire journey was done on skis except for short sections with insufficient snow cover that were done on foot. As we could not ski the ‘easy bits’ and drive between them, one of the greatest challenges was to identify a route that followed the high ground as much as possible. This was essential to maximise the distance covered by ski and reduce road walking to a minimum. There are several waymarked long distance hiking trails traversing the Alpine chain but no recognised ski route. Several parties have made this journey adopting different styles and following different variants of the route. Some of the sections are popular with ski mountaineers and have well known ski routes. Other sections are rarely visited in winter and have no obvious ski routes. This is a record of my journey and the route that I chose to follow, along with suggestions for how future parties could benefit from my experiences and improve the route.

France 2015

9 February – 12 March

26 stages in 32 days

486km distance

29,207m ascent

Team: David Hamilton & Venetia Wingfield (plus Nick Hellen F01-F06, Partick Bird F07, Andre Axelrod F15-F17)*

Switzerland 2016

16 February – 17 March

25 stages in 31 days

518km distance

30,621m ascent

Team: David Hamilton, Steve Kentish, (plus John Kentish S01-S05, Harvey Lyons S08-S25)

Austria 2017

8 February – 28 March

35 stages in 49 days

746km distance

39,800m ascent

Team: David Hamilton, Steve Kentish, (plus Andy Helm S32-S37)

Totals: 2015 / 2016 / 2017

86 stages in 112 days

1750km distance

99,628m ascent

*French section completed separately by John Kentish, Steve Kentish, Sam Handley in 2014

 

Summary reports

In addition to the detailed information contained in these pages there is a short report covering each of the 4 sections on the main High Adventure website.

https://highadventure.org.uk/alps-ski-2015.html

https://highadventure.org.uk/ski-switzerland-2016.html

https://highadventure.org.uk/transalp-ski-iii-austria-2017.html

 

Warning: GPS tracks

The daily tracks logged by GPS during this project are available for download on this site. These show the actual route taken each day including errors of judgement and navigational mistakes. Where necessary important additional information is included in the text. Do not assume that these GPS tracks always offer the best or safest route.

 

References

La Traversée de l'Arc alpin à skis  De Vienne à Menton en 100 jours - Frédéric Chevaillot, Jean-René Minelli  Éditions Glénat - 144 pages

http://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/snow-ski-skimountaineering/paolo-rabbia-first-winter-ski-traverse-of-the-alps.html

British Army Exercise Alpine Arc 2015

Panico - Skitourenführer Super-Haute-Route ISBN 978-3-936740-58-5 (2009)

LIVRE TOPO: LA GRANDE TRAVERSÉE DES ALPES À SKI - BENJAMIN GAIMARD (l’edelweiss) (2007)

David Hamilton
High Adventure
67 Castle Road
Hartshill
Nuneaton
Warwickshire
CV10 0SG

Email:  david@highadventure.org.uk

Telephone:    From UK    02476 395422
From other countries     +44 2476 395422

Skype:  davidhamilton8848

Website by Jenkin Hill Internet