Christine and Anne Do in the foreground
(Anne Do and Christine in the foreground,
Gabriel and Jacques in the background)
Base camp : Desert in Valjouffrey
Camping at a spot called "desert" (just below the last village up the valley). Beautiful sunset. It's bloody cold, but everyone's got good equipment. Alain lights a comforting fire, enabling us to melt the frozen water in our bottles, and warming our hands and feet. Starting the stoves is problematic. My Camping Gaz stove dies. An aging hose on a multifuel snaps with the frost. Fortunately, Alain's Primus works brilliantly, it will be used by the whole group. Lesson learnt : it's better to have a good fuel stove in working order and checked, and a 2nd one for back-up if possible.
Hard to get out of the sleeping bag in the morning. –17°C, it's bloody freezing! After a hefty breakfast and some hot tea, we fill the thermoses and set off. The first long downhill from Valjouffrey feels bitterly cold. Every inch of skin left uncovered is immediately cryogened. My down jacket makes miracles, but I have to ride with my big snow boots on (I kept the inner boot warm in the sleeping bag during the night) because the cycling shoes + overshoes prove insufficient in spite of the supposedly warm Merino socks. I'm gonna have to seriously think about the pb because Western Tibet might be a tiny bit cold (-10/-20°C in October) !!!
The snow we had encountered on some portions on Saturday had completely melted when we passed on Sunday. Good thing as the climb back up to Sievoz would have been a tiny bit tricky had there been snow on the road. Back home at dusk. A jolly good weekend.
No technical pb except a loose roulette wheel on one of the trikes (not mine ;-)) but it had nothing to do with the cold. No frozen cable nor derailleur (though the trikes slept outside in the snow). Only Jacques had a studded rear tyre onhis Challenge.
(Thanks to Alain for his photos, I had unfortunately forgotten the batterie for my camera!).
More update when I find the time…