vendredi 26 décembre 2008

And some backcountry skiing, near Grenoble :D

Oh yeah, and there is the snowy stuff as well, I had to deserve all that food... The snow was not the best I had ever*, but it was good to catch back with Djé&Gaelle, to meet Murielle, to see Caroline having a hard time because of gear problems... And it was so good to be in the sun above the "sea of clouds", when the valleys were stuck in a thick and cold fog!!! Thanks to Titi for the accomodation, all the driving, and the 3 days of skiing!

* oui oui, Donn, je rale, comme Titi... Mais je profite!!!

PS: the last pic was taken by mistake with the wrong mode, but very luckily is not that bad, I think...

1.80m of Christmas log :p

The Linards from Fontaine Les Gres joined us at the last minute for the Xmas lunch. Annette said she will bring the Christmas log for dessert, and arrived the 25th with 120cms of it... The thing is that we still had the one from my sister, which we failled to eat the previous day, because of the cheese fondue (see previous post). So we had 180cms of cake, which strangely we didn't manage to finish...

I add 2 photos of my nephew Armand, in the middle of a sea of gifts, and enjoying opening/destroying them! Childs are too much spoiled with presentsnowadays, I reckon... I wasn't the same back in the days... Am I jealous???

Various states of a "pumpkin" cheese fondue

I came back to my parents place just before Xmas with full backpacks full of Swiss chocolate... and Swiss cheese from the Fribourg region! These later are supposed to make the best cheese fondue in Switzerland, even in the world if you listen the Fribourgeois... I don't know if it is true, I can tell you it's better than the cheese fondue with New Zealand cheeses, hehe. I tried one more time the pumpkin recipe, and it was damned good! Here are a few pics of the evolution/destruction of the pumpkin during the evening...

dimanche 14 décembre 2008

Various climbing failures...

In the last two weekend, we tried to do some climbing with my buddy Oliver, with not a lot of success... No success at all, should I say...

First, we tried last week to climb at La Tribune, in Charmey. It's a fantastic crag, with about 80 overhanging routes, on excellent limestone. Some people told us that is a good winter crag, as generally above the valley fog. What we didn't know was that the crag needs a few days to dry after a snowfall, and the rock was wet on most of the routes... Maybe a few grade 8+ (above NZ grade 30) were climbable. Being weak, we passed, and decided to go to a climbing gym... The first we tried was closed because that was a public holiday, so we made the drive to Bern, thinking the local gym would be opened, as it was not a public holiday there. But it was opening only at 5pm on Mondays... So we came back to Fribourg, and had a coffee at Belvedere, with its fantastic terrasse. We ended up, like miserable people, bouldering at our usual wall, after 6 hours of wandering around...

The weekend after, we wanted to go ice climbing with Oliver, at Chateau d'Oex (even in French this name is difficult to say!). We spent almost 3hours to find the route, which was made of only running water... Again, we've been big girls, and didn't climb... And guess what, we finished the day at our usual climbing gym in Fribourg, for a change...

OK, not all i bad in Swizzy, I still managed to have 2 days of snowboarding in great powder conditions, fantastic conditions for December!!!

jeudi 4 décembre 2008

Funny thing about my institute...

The institute where I am working at (AMI for Anton Merckle Institute, has the same initials as the American Mustache Institute ( I guess we should try to collaborate together!

lundi 1 décembre 2008

Fat Freddy's, Strasbourg & stuff

I went back to Strasbourg last WE, this time with a part of the old NZ crew, Donn, Jen, Anna, Anna, and Caroline. That was fun, despite the fact we didn't manage to motivate the girls to go to the Roman bath... We spent the WE eating in some nice restaurants, drinking a few beers in , visiting Strasbourg and it's surroundings, and going the Fat Freddy's drop concert at La Laiterie club, yipeee! The concert was great and fun despite of technical problems which forbid the band to play their most famous songs... Too bad, but it was still a good (and different) concert!

Talking of interesting performances, we went to the modern art museum of Strasbourg, and I had a blast there! It was the 10th anniversary of the museum, so the entry was free (which is always good!), and there were some shows inside: some sort of dancers were dancing/strolling around, following some weird music, if I can call that music... At the same time, a crazy man was manipulating strange home built robots, those later moving with metallic noises, making the all museum looking like a noisy but stylish cafarnaum! I really enjoyed it :)!

On Sunday, I wanted to avoid to go back the very commercial and not so attractive Strasbourg Christmas market. My brother in law asked me if we wanted to go for a ride to his favorite small little town in Alsace, which was meaning we had to split with the other guys cos of a lack of cars... We decided to join him anyway, with my sister and Caroline, and that was a very good and authentic experience! It is definitely the best Christmas market I've been to, located in one of the most beautiful town around! We couldn't resist to buy a few things there, including some hats which makes you look stupid...

And I'm too lazy to upload more photos, so have a look on Donn's website to get plenty of nice pics!

lundi 24 novembre 2008

Armand's first birthday

Here are 2 pics of last WE, spent in Strasbourg. The them was my nephew first birthday, and as you can see, we had a lot of food... As always when I visit my sister in Alsace... Yes, I know, I'll become fat one day... The problem is that we are coming back there next WE, for a concert from a NZ band, the Fat Freddy's drop... Anyway, Armand is still a very fit boy, full of energy to do stupidities!

We went to a Christmas market the following day, in Hageunau north of Strasbourg. Was fun but bitterly cold, we had to drink some mulled wine to saty warm, hehe... It was really feeling like Cristmas, was sweet :)

PS: the pics are from Sebastien, my brother in law

dimanche 16 novembre 2008

Climbing fest at the Porte de Murat wall

Last Saturday, I discovered that the indoor climbing wall I'm going to was the first one of its kind in Switzerland... Interesting, isn't it? The wall has been built in a medieval tower in 1958, the 50th anniversary was celebrated yesterday: plenty of kids discovered rope climbing, there was a fun bouldering contest*, where I sucked... All this ended by a conference by Arnaud Petit and Stephanie Bodet**, 2 former rock climbing world champions who are currently traveling the world to climb... Lucky bastard...

Oh yeah, and the snow was good on Sunday!

* I was one of the 2 oldest there... It's depressing, eh?
** Who I found her very cute,
on a personal note ...

mardi 11 novembre 2008

Partying WE with my friends from the St-Etienne school, in Allier

OK, last week end was a rather tough one for me, catching back with (many) friends from St-Etienne! It was a great WE, with a lot of good food, and (way too much) good drinks... They are still fit on alcohol and talking shit, I tell you! Got pretty tired actually... Luckily, the pretty and quiet surroundings were a perfect place for recovery walks!

As physically, it was mentally tough as well, with these many children around, I felt like I missed something... Am I old already??? Look at this friendly goat, laughing at me...

mardi 4 novembre 2008

Merci beaucoup!

I got my NZ farewell gift by post last week, many thanks to all of you guys for it! Special thanks for Travis who packaged it well so it didn't get broken... The most dangerous part was me handling it...

The pics are from Donn, who spent 2 days in Fribourg for a workshop... We had the time to do a bit of climbing together, to drink a few beers, and to find a new utility for an ice screw... (please no dirty comments on that last sentence!)

Oh yeah, and it snowed last week, with 10 cms at my front door, yipeeeeeeeeeeee!

dimanche 26 octobre 2008

Rock Climbing with Blaise, May, and Noanne!

Sunday, I went in the Chablais region for some climbing, with Blaise, May, and Noanne... OK, the last one didn't climb a lot (10 month year old), but she enjoyed the sunny day nonetheless, I think.

The tale of the day is Blaise's answer to a young boy questionning him:
Young boy: "Why is there is a cross on top of the crag?"
Blaise: "It's because Jesus made the first ascent of the grade 29 climb below it (...) When you see a cross at the top of something, it's because Jesus was the first one to climb it (bla bla bla)"

Saturday, I stayed in Fribourg's fog, and went climbing with Anneke at the Bridge of Perolles, next to my working place. Some people setted up some holds on 2 of the bridge pillars, making some long and very overhanging route under the arches of the bridge... There are even some multi-pitche routes!

lundi 20 octobre 2008

Chamonix with Donn, Jen and David

So, what did I do last WE... I went to Chamonix, hehe! On Saturday, we did some good mountain biking at Le Tour, it was a great day. We got quite tired with Donn because of some extras... Sunday was a sort of a disaster, as we didn't manage to find the rock climbing crag (we didn't even try, I'm deeply ashamed...), and went hiking with Jen and David. But was good also: the weather was so sunny that all my pictures are crap... I should get some sort of polarizing for my digital camera, if it exists for compacts...

In between, we stayed at David's place, and I can tell he is a lucky bastard to have a place there... Here are a couple of pics from his front door (with the handsome boy Donn Morrison):

PS: sorry Travis and Francis, I didn't get any naked pics of my 2 lovely workmates... Maybe later ;)

mardi 14 octobre 2008

Work stuff, and climbing

Here are two pics of my news toys... Pretty fancy stuff, you can feel that there his some money over there... They even put pretty cooling devices, with a butterfly shape!

As well, I went rock climbing during the WE, was sweet! We went to the Gastlosen with Oliver on Saturday, and I can tell you that is a world class place to climb, with everything from 1 to 15 pitch, on brilliant rock. Being too excited, I forgot to take pictures... You can have a few info on

We went climbing at Val d'Orvin ( in the Jura) on Sunday with Oliver and Anneke, the climbing wasn't that great, but it was still a fun day! Here is a pic of the 2 dudes:

samedi 4 octobre 2008

For my parents, and Dion!

Here are a couple of pics of my flat, which is confy, and from where you can see the mountains! Not too bad!

Look at the early snow! Yum!

Other yummy things, one of the most famous chocolate factory in Swizzy (Chocolat Villars), at 300m from my office...

dimanche 28 septembre 2008

Rock Climbing in Ombleze, Dentelles de Montmirail, and Ombleze...

After 2 weeks in my family, it was time for me to catch back with some climbing mates, and with some nice french limestone. We first went to the excellent crag of Ombleze (south Vercors) the 11/12 of Septembre. With Donn, we tried to introduced Etienne to the hard way, i.e. camping under heavy rain, the tent set up on a non flat and rocky ground... Somehow, Etienne didn't like the experience, but me and Donn enjoyed it a lot!

We then came back to Lyon to leave Etienne, and to pick up Caroline for the WE. In order to avoid the rain, we went down south to the Dentelles de Montmirail, an old favorite. We sucked at rock climbing, but we had a bit of an adventure: we wanted to spend the night at "The Jardin", a small garden located at the top of the crag, 50 metres above the ground. To access it, one has to climb 2 pitches of grade 5c (NZ grade 17). The thing is that the wind was bloowing very hard, and the climb ended to be a mission: Donn got an excitting lead, and me and Caroline followed with the heavy backpacks (full of food and wine...). The wind was so strong that when you happened to fall, your rope was making a 30degrees angle with the vertical... I manage to dodge myself to the top with my backpack, but Caroline left her after 10 meters, on a bolt. Donn went down to help me hauling it. He made it to the top just at night...

That wasn't the end of the adventure for Donn as he decided to be strong and to sleep in is hammock, which was sounding like a noisy plane... He didn't sleep very well, actualy...

The beautifull Dentelles de Montmirail

A small spot sheltered from the wind

The following WE, I came back to Ombleze with some friends from St-Etienne. It was less adventurous, but the the food was way better, for some reasons!

The cute place we stayed at.

Playing the table traverse... All the girls ended up with bruises, I guess it's just a male's game...