|Alpine Paddling Holiday 2020
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Major Trip Reports.…
Day 5 St Clements to Embrun (Lower Durance)
The morning was spent on the campsite, for some this was a chance to rest whilst others visited local shops for supplies. We had lunch on the side of the Slalom site at St Clements and then we ran the shuttle. On the return of the drivers we played in the two surf waves at the top of the rapid. This was at a good level and more and more of the team were starting to get more adventurous on the play waves.
After the slalom course we set off down the main river towards the Rabioux Wave. There were several interesting features to play on and Aleksander was really trying to pull off a wave wheel in his inazone in every standing wave he could find.
On arrival at the “Rab wave” Keith and Stuart paddled to the bottom and then signed the others to paddle over the crest and head for the red boat in the eddy below. One by one we all made it down safely and in some style. The wave seemed to have changed again this year and was more of a tail with huge standing waves below.
Once we left the “Rab” the lower river was entertaining with several large wave trains and bouncy rapids to keep us on our toes. A couple of people decide to practice their rolls, but this only shows that they were pushing their limits and trying moves and tight break ins. The tall crumbling cliff just above “point Neuf” was avoided by heading to river left and then we paddled down under the wooden road bridge. Here the river was concentrated into a 10m wide channel with resultant large and powerful waves.
We arrived at the final feature of the river, the Embrun Wave. Some of the group became adventurous with their playing but the wave just did not suit longer kayaks. We paddled down to the get out. An obligatory supermarket stop on the way back to the campsite and BBQ as the skies were crystal clear and it kept very warm well into the night.
Day 5 Mountain Walk – Glacier Noir
Oscar and Olesia’s trip up Glacier Noir started well, insofar as Oscar needed two extra cups of coffee and they left an hour late. The drive up through Ailefroide and Vallouise was truly spectacular encompassing alpine forests and plenty of mountain vistas. The walk began well with plenty of overtaking some of the slower groups. As they approached the Glacier Noir everything began to unravel, well Olesia was perfectly happy bounding up the treacherous ridge like a mountain goat (or as the locals call them chamois) but Oscar lost his bottle. In the end after a much more difficult scramble up a mountain stream they made it to the paths end halfway up the glacier.
The views were out of this world and a better picnic spot in glorious sunshine would be very hard to find. They were both struck by the perfect blue of the glacier ice in contrast with the black (noir) top of the slow-moving ice monster. On the way back down Olesia again proved her mountain goat credentials bounding down the mountain leaving Oscar for dust. An excellent day was topped off with a quick trip up a rather underused ski lift and some delicious crepes.