This is the Dave Butcher photo diary of a ski mountaineering trip to the Saas Fee area of Switzerland.
Black and white photographs and scans of my colour slides are used here to illustrate a 6 day ski mountaineering trip. Starting and finishing in Saas Fee in Switzerland we used a couple of mountain huts but the weather was really poor and we finished the trip early.
This was in the last week of April in 1998 and for the second year running I arranged the ski trip with the same 4 friends. We had all met on various ski tours and decided to organise our own trips, rather than go on those offered by guides or tour operators. The previous year we discovered we all had a loathing for polenta, a corn-based vegetable commonly served in mountain huts in and near Italy, so we called ourselves the ‘No Polenta Club’ or NPC for short. We met up in Saas Fee with the plan to ski as many 4000m peaks as possible in 6 days, ending in Zermatt. Jon, our guide, thought 4 or 5 may be possible but in the end we were lucky to manage two and one 3000m peak due to the appalling weather and we never left the Saas Fee area.
I was keen to try my new touring skis in anger (I had already used them for a week of piste skiing at Val d’Isere a couple of weeks earlier). They were Salomon X-Mountain skis with Fritschi Diamir ski mountaineering bindings. They were great!
Jon de Montjoye
Jim Blythe, an aspirant guide.
No Polenta Club Skiers
Dave Butcher, Mark Rogerson, Phil Moorhouse, Graham Arthur and Lovejoy