This lap we had to use the CATEX system (cable transporteur d'explosif). I hadn't used this method of doing avalanche control and had fun learning a new system. We basically hung the charges from a cable that would move over the areas we wanted to control with explosives. We would adjust the fuses and rope lengths to the distances from the deck where we prepared the charges. Then run the charge out over the slopes. The furthest charge went 260 meters away with a 3 meter fuse.
The rest of the day was spent eating with my drinking pal Quick. We met Mateo (Chief), Olivier Chenu (Chief), and 6 other patrollers for lunch at the Borsillier. Normal. Towards the end of lunch a man walked to into the room with a dislocated elbow and a broken arm. He just happened to speak English so I got take him with "General" (who doesn't speak English) to Champagny. My day was over.
Mont Blanc from Roche de Mio 7am
Sunday started off with a sign of things to come later that day. My camera had fallen out of my pocket in my flat the night before and that morning it didn't work at all, broken. Sign #1 I'm a believer in the "things happen in 3's" theory. And today the theory was proven.
The work day went great though. The morning was super foggy and the helicopter wasn't able to fly us up to the Glacier to do the PIDA. We took the gondolas instead and it took us an hour to get up there. The Glacier gondola broke down and we sat for a long, long time. I felt sorry for Nico. He was hurting pretty bad from the night before and the rocking gondola cabin didn't help. I think most of us have been there and can imagine the misery.
Once at the top we did the regular routes around the Glacier and headed back to the top. The clouds had cleared around 2000 meters and the heli was coming to pick us up for another round of PIDA.
This pilot was no joke. He pretty much landed right on top of us, but in just the right spot to load and go. As we approached the mountain he flew only 30 feet off the deck and then straight up the mountain to our drop point. He dropped us off on the ridge line hovering of course with only one skag on the ground. We unloaded our gear. That's when he did a switch-180 and dove off the ridge line. That was awwwwesome!
The day turned out to be beautiful on the Glacier. Blue skies and powder. We did some good skiing and a few rescues. One of which needed a helicopter for evacuation.
Sometime during the day Mikey Hovey called and said there was an american football game on that night at midnight. And we could watch the game at his place on the HD widescreen. I was very excited and enjoyed my final run of the day to the locker room. This is when sign #2 came into play. I had broken a leash on my binding on my way down the hill. Bummed. First the camera, now the leash. I was starting to think about what else could go wrong and the "theory". I'm sure if you know me at all you know what went wrong. NUMERO TOIS! The game we watched lasted until 4 am our time and I was happy to sleep until noon the next day. That's all I have to say about that.
On a good note. Heidi arrives tomorrow to Lyon and we have a great week of fun ahead of us. Mikey, Devito and Charlie arrive friday afternoon, then Rob and Kelly Parish will be here early Saturday morning. Nothing like a good ol' Eagle County hoe down in France!!