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  1. #51
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    Apr 2005
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    A Chamonix of the Mind
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    At one point in time, I made a fairly hot, dirty, and industrial living that paid relatively well for a ne'er do well but probably shortened my life by a few years. My wife likes to call me lazy but I prefer to think I got all that hard work nonsense out of my system many years ago. So although these days I avoid back-breaking labor whenever possible, I do like to stop and admire it in all of its many forms. As long as it is being performed by others. This chap is shoveling a meter of snow off the restaurant patio under the watchful eye of the chef while I have a cappucino and wait for the upper lift to open . . .



    The obligatory powder shot. Some day those kids might grow up and argue the relative merits of Summit County on whatever replaces the internet . . .



    That is about all I had for powder shots on that day, since I was skiing alone and generally couldn't see 4 feet. However, the weather broke after laying down several feet of heavy snow, which allowed me to get this photo of a Freeride Systems jacket "in action." Seriously though, the rain and snow pounded me for days in this thing, yet I remained drier than a retired nun's vagina. And yes, that is a "hello Kitty" hat . . .



    I created a nice Spectre of the Broecken. . .



    We encounter the local rodentia. . .



    We pizza n french fry our way around the Sella Ronda a couple of times. . .



    We ski above the clouds. . .



    I bet my son he cannot entertain / confuse a mountain hut full of tourists by eating an entire plate of spaghetti like Napoleon Dynamite. I lose. . .



    Eventually after a week of dazzling Dolomite scenery and family adventure, it was time to head for someplace else. But where? I remembered reading something Hugh C once wrote, that there are ony 4 ski areas in Europe that really matter and the rest may as well not even exist. . . LaGrave, Verbier, St Anton, and. . . . oh yeah. . .



    But don't fuck around here, my friends. The slender line between pleasure and death in Chamonix is as thin as a Frenchman's whisker. Believe EVERYTHING you hear! As Dougal Haston once wrote, "If your training is good enough, survival is there. Otherwise nature takes its forfeit." I'm pretty sure he was buried in an avalanche right after saying that!

    As another terrifying example, this young man was killed seconds after I took this photo by a roofalanche. Although he was only 35 feet away it took PGHM about 12 hours to reach him . . .



    Fortunately, being a caring and protective father, I took several minutes to debrief my son to the dangers of the massif so he would be prepared for anything we encountered. . .

    Last edited by JoeStrummer; 02-11-2014 at 04:18 PM.
    "Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
    -- Jack Tackle

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    da eskalaterz
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    1,186
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeStrummer View Post
    But don't fuck around here, my friends. The slender line between pleasure and death in Chamonix is as thin as a Frenchman's whisker. Believe EVERYTHING you hear! As Dougal Haston once wrote, "If your training is good enough, survival is there. Otherwise nature takes its forfeit." I'm pretty sure he was buried in an avalanche right after saying that!

    As another terrifying example, this young man was killed seconds after I took this photo by a roofalanche. Although he was only 35 feet away it took PGHM about 12 hours to reach him . . .

    Gold, Jerry. Gold! Does that sign say something about a twat?

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Sydney/Avon
    Posts
    530
    this TR is fuckin' good

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    5,381

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Chamonix/Franconia, NH
    Posts
    1,483
    A classic! Next time, let's get some skiing photos on some extremely intermediate lines.

  6. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    R.O.C.
    Posts
    4,034
    I love it when your therapist goes on vacation!
    Calmer than you dude

  7. #57
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    A Chamonix of the Mind
    Posts
    3,690
    Time to wrap up the last installment and move on to some fresh shit. If you don't like looking at pictures of someone else's goddamn kid (and who does, really?) the next installment will feature only my usual broken alcoholics and monstrous whores.

    My wife made me promise not to drop my son into anything too crazy in Chamonix. I insisted that I was a responsible father. Chamonix murders even the most hardened alpinists without pity or remorse, so I would NOT put an 8-year old in any dangerous situations. She then provided recent photo evidence of the contrary. . .



    I eventually convinced her that The Aiguille du Midi is much safer than a random desert lightning storm. The telepherique was installed so poofters with shiny gear could access terrain previously attainable only to real men. Usually I hike from the valley with extra rocks in my pack but with a small child I reluctantly decided to accept mechanized assistance. Unfortunately, since it was closed for the day due to snow and wind (what is this, fucking Jackson?) we decided to build the MOST EXTREME snow man ever seen in the valley. This might seem safe but you are ALWAYS at risk in Chamonix, even when engaging in benign play far away from crevasses and seracs. This lends a profound existential dread to every moment of the day. We were almost finished with our creation when some Frenchman with a snowplow decided to actually do some work. You can see him approaching in the upper left of the photo below. He destroyed our new friend without a simple "Desole!" before we could even find a carrot and a button . . .



    More evidence of the EXTREMENESS of Chamonix. This chap is actually going to be trying Everest without oxygen. I tried to find his Kickstarter but couldn't. Soon after I took this photo, a gust of wind tore the poster loose. It flew through the air and into the mouth of the innocent little girl in the background, also building a snowman. She immediately suffocated. . .



    Our plan was to spend some time restoring my old Peugot. . . .



    However, it snowed so much we ended up having to ski. We did some meadow-skipping. . .



    We made some bomb-holes at Grand Montets. "A real dad wouldn't just stand there taking my picture, he would help me up!"



    And some other actual skiing in the shadow of Mont Blanc, as well. On the Italian side. . .



    On the French side. . .





    The neighbors tried to burn down the valley with fireworks. . .



    I thought about enrolling my son in lift-smoking lessons, since the French are the absolute best. . .



    So, onward we go with the Winter's Tale. . .

    There should've been a trip to Shames in here somewhere but first it didn't snow for weeks so we postponed for later in February. Then there was a load of new snow on top of hard crust, and the lift broke. So we have decided to go somewhere much more reliable. . . .



    See you Freds, Gomers, and Joeys in a month!
    "Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
    -- Jack Tackle

  8. #58
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Before
    Posts
    20,929
    JS, cultivating views from Child Protective Services across the country.
    Bravo.
    Or as Ernest might say: To be a successful father... there's one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don't look at it for the first two years".
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  9. #59
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    ANC / ADQ
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    2,617
    nice fucking slideshow, guy


  10. #60
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    Jan 2008
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    tree OH TREE!!!!!
    Posts
    3,239
    thank you strummer....

  11. #61
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Two Thousand Leagues
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    1,014
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeStrummer View Post
    A Winter's Tale, Part II. . . .
    Probably about 80% of the dudes on this site. . . .

    Look at those hams! That dude must still be dropping a knee. Also, is that a right nut? I dig the one-boob-out style though.

    Excellent TR! Look forward to the next installment!
    Last edited by The Gnarwhale; 03-13-2014 at 05:43 PM.

  12. #62
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Wa wa..tatic
    Posts
    3,281
    I am extremely jealous of both your vacation and your narrative prose.

    excellent TR

  13. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    JH
    Posts
    442
    Strummer despises VIBES Threads, so it is not surprising that he has not revealed his heli-evac in Chamonix. Apparently while tree skiing he hit the tree at Les Chosalets. It's pretty bad, which explains the eyepatch.


    VIBES+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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  14. #64
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    Apr 2005
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    A Chamonix of the Mind
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    These reports are inaccurate.

    Actually, the worse thing to happen to me recently can be illustrated thusly. . . .



    I never thought I would begin a trip report with a close-up photograph of a wad of poop on my shoe but there it is and here we are. I am bitterly disappointed in myself for falling for this simple tourist scam, especially within 15 minutes of surfacing from the Delhi metro into the streets of relatively benign central Delhi. I blame my rusted sense of situational awareness, which is usually quite reliable but has been lately neglected and compromised by too many relaxed trips to the European Alps. The only things that require hyper-vigilance in Old Europe are the brutal exchange rate (Switzerland) and the dreadful pop music (Austria.) But India? India is made of moonlight and poetry, as Mark Twain once said. And also a swirling boiling brew of madness and insanity. I needed to be ready for Delhi, like Liam Neeson with his little liquor bottles at the end of "The Grey." Instead I was bumbling around like it was a Sunday afternoon in Zurich and I already had shit on my shoes.

    Twice in my life, shoe scammers have tried to score quick victories on me and I was undefeated. In Mexico City I saw a kid with a mustard squirter swooping in low and fast, and easily dodged his yellow smear with Barry Sanders-style footwork. His KISS t-shirt caught my eye which brings up a PRO TIP for street scammers - if you want a Westerner NOT to notice you so you can squirt him with condiments, don't wear a goddamn extra large sparkly black shirt with Ace Frehley on it! In Lima I caught a kid with a handful of black tar by the arm before he could smear my shoe and pantleg, and threatened to break his neck the next time I saw him. But this time? This time I was such a rube I had no idea my shoe was covered in fecal slime until shoeshine box guy helpfully pointed it out to me. I dismissed him with a fist and hoped they had used cow shit before concluding poop was poop and I was now 2-1 lifetime in this game.

    While cleaning my shoe in a Starbucks bathroom (even in India, Starbucks is the most reliable bathroom for serious work like shoe decontamination, offering Western-style tools like privacy, soap and paper towels), I speculated on the back story of the pricks who had mastered this petty crime to such a sensei-like degree they had been able to get over on an experienced and battle-tested world traveler like me, undetected. I bore no malice towards them in any case, the world is full of hustlers and hustlers gotta hustle. Some of them make billions of dollars timing the stock market by nanoseconds, and Michael Lewis writes books about them. And some of them tiptoe up behind oblivious twits, hoping to parlay their stealth and crap into a few crumpled rupees, and they end up a footnote in a TR by an alcoholic. The wheel just turns and turns.

    ASIDE #1. . . .

    Rajeet is troubled and impatient. He comes out of the back room with the same question he has asked many times. "Sanjay, when will it be my turn with the shoeshine box? I am ready. I cannot always be the one who smears shit on the shoes of these tourist assholes forever!"

    Sanjay smiles at his younger brother. Their mother made him promise to protect Rajeet but sometimes it was not easy. He was impulsive, he has always wanted to take the quick path, has always wanted the sickly sweet taste of laziness in his mouth over the more subtle flavors of wisdom and hard work. Being the shit-smearer was without risk, you simply did your job and then vanished into the crowd, only meeting later to collect your 40% of the take. But the guy with the shoeshine box offering to clean the dirty shoe? He required solid principles of salesmanship and negotiation, the ability to recognize fat pigeons from birds of prey, a grasp of psychological principles, a broad smile and a solicitous nature. The ability to diffuse rage and dodge punches, the skill to make his arrival on the scene seem entirely coincidental and fortunate. Rajeet might be ready for all of this some day. But he was not ready yet.

    Sanjay patted his hopeful brother on the back, trying not to sound dismissive. "All things in due time, Rajeet. In due time. There will never be an end to stupid tourists, afterall. Now go back in there and squat over the bucket and make us another batch of moneymaker!"

    Conclude ASIDE #1

    Ahh, but there is much more to a mini expedition than just having man manure splattered onto your trail runner by petty criminals. There are also important details, like sorting the gear pile. . .



    Buying enough Scotch and cognac. . .



    Taking advantage of alternative medical therapies not embraced or approved of in the West. . .



    Securing appropriate transport. . .





    Proper Acclimatization upon arrival . . .



    Keeping up on important and breaking events from America on local television, like Jake "the Snake" Roberts kicking the shit out of Andre the Giant and taking advantage of his acute ophidiophobia. . .



    History is full of dumb Western assholes who have gone to India and tried to explain what they have seen, whether it was tiger-hunting or ivory harvesting or sword-swallowing or snake-charming or widow-burning. To this considerable and fabled literature I now add the musings of another dumb Western asshole. Although I didn't see any of the things I listed above. I did see an elephant but he was working his saggy ass off in a brick kiln about 10 miles from the Pakistan border, so I'm not sure he counts as "wildlife." . . .




    Onward friends, with the Winters Tale. Join me as we journey into the heart of ancient wondrous lands and ponder its mysteries. Like local helmet laws . . .



    ^^^^^ By the way, I now feel much better about my own parenting!
    Last edited by JoeStrummer; 01-25-2015 at 12:53 AM.
    "Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
    -- Jack Tackle

  15. #65
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Vancouver, BC
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    921
    Holy shit (literally), some high quality writing, well done.

  16. #66
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    Apr 2005
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    A Chamonix of the Mind
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    ^^^^ Many times writings from India have an annoying preoccupation with stool quality, bowel movements, sanitary concerns, pooping, etc. Perhaps rightly so, the Indians even have a special place for some of it. . . (sadly I didn't get a photo of the hapless food cart guy that staked out his turf directly in front of this veritable garden.) In any case, I am not sure Ben Franklin had this in mind when he wrote, "A place for everything and everything in its place." . .



    When Ringo Starr visited India 40 years ago, he brought 2 suitcases of canned baked beans with him so he wouldn't have to rely on local cuisines. This seems silly and paranoid, why travel the world only to eat pre-packaged foods? In any case, I will try to spare you any lurid gastro-intestinal tales and I don't really have any of those anyways. However, I will briefly offer Aside #2. . .

    India is a land of contradictions. The Italian Pizza Hut is owned by a delightful Tibetan couple and I enjoyed a delicious dinner and warm hospitality at their cosy establishment one night. The hands of a rural Indian restaurant proprietor are always busy. Moving propane tanks, handling small dirty bills, chopping tomatoes and roots, petting random dogs, rearranging crates, kneading dough, cracking eggs, plucking chickens, rubbing his forehead, distributing ashtrays, preparing your meal, waving you goodbye. These things cross your mind as you take up knife and fork and begin to attack the wonderful dinner he has placed in front of you.



    The next morning at 5am after an alpine start from the valley I found myself fumbling for the buckle of my Rabs and staggering for cover (on skins, which is an additional challenge) seconds before shitting out 30,000 cfs of boiling Hormel under a soft three-quarter moonlight and the branches of a soothing Himalayan oak. I leaned my forehead against the cool bark of the tree and let the light breeze tickle me while I waited five minutes, then 15 minutes, for my innards to achieve some sort of tenuous equilibrium. Eventually I felt good enough to venture away from the security of that lovely tree and resume climbing upward.

    And then that very same night I went back to the EXACT SAME PLACE for delicious momos and shaksara!
    Last edited by JoeStrummer; 04-08-2014 at 04:51 PM.
    "Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
    -- Jack Tackle

  17. #67
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    n to the h
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    844
    woohoo!

    Thank you, sir, please keep it coming!

  18. #68
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    May 2009
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    inpdx
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    12,433
    tell us you had the "fingerchips"

  19. #69
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    Oct 2008
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    JH
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    442
    If you do not finish this TR before the next winter Ullr will take all the snow and put it in Alabama.

  20. #70
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    Oct 2009
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    Maine Coast
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    2,789
    Sunday morning coffee and TGR ........ahhhh

  21. #71
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    Nov 2009
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    da eskalaterz
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    1,186
    Bump for pro callout:

    Hey Strummer, I can't BELIEVE you are everyone's favorite TGR poster. I'm SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU!

  22. #72
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    An der Schützenfest
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    3,393
    This thread is a gift that keeps on giving!


    Thank you.

    The floggings will continue until morale improves.

  23. #73
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    At the beach
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    12,377
    Awesomeness!!!! How did I miss this one before?
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  24. #74
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Inside the Circle
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    1,945
    ^ What he said.

  25. #75
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    A Chamonix of the Mind
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    3,690
    We continue on with our Indian adventure. Mark Twain once wrote that India was the only country he ever day-dreamed about or longed to see again, a land made of "moonlight and poetry," as he described it. Someone else once wrote, "India is a sun-scorched scabbed asshole of a country, which, unless forcibly sent, I will never visit again. Fuck you, India!"

    Nobody seems to be neutral on India. Fortunately, our crew likes moonlight and poetry AND scabbed assholes. So it worked out just fine!

    We face Mecca. . . .



    We do exhaustive research on Indians to make sure we understand the rich swirling tapestry of languages and religions and cultures. . .



    Telelebowski looks into the abyss. . .



    We have an audience in Dharamsala with someone we are 95% sure was the Dalai Lama. He does a version of "Hotel California" that will make you forget Don Henley . . .



    We encounter much beauty. . .





    Mike makes a new BFF . . .



    I write things in my journal like, "We picked up a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue at some fly-blown roadside liquor shack. The grumpy proprietor had to wipe a half-inch thick layer of dust and grime and spider poop off the box. He inspected our 1000 rupee notes like I just made them with a dot-matrix printer. But in the end we got our sweet Kilmarnock nectar and held to the fading evening light the bottle gleams magically. I am already drinking it in my mind!"

    We realize there are TGR-level poseurs (note poser spelling) all over the globe. . .


    We find new passions to replace skiing. . .


    We enjoy the pulsating rhythms of Indian highways, where chaos always seems to be about to erupt yet everything flows smoothly and safely. . .



    We feel loved and welcomed by the locals . . .



    But even if we didn't feel so much human warmth, we know we are protected by well-trained tactical teams. . .


    And so are India's national treasures!



    We enjoy fine dining and burnished fineries at a fraction of Swiss prices. . .





    I pick the wrong day to get super fucking high and wear my turban and oversized "Stop Making Sense" 3-piece suit. . .



    Maybe somebody skis something. . .



    So let us continue on for the last few installments of this (err, last) Winter's Tale. . .
    Last edited by JoeStrummer; 01-25-2015 at 01:58 AM.

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