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Short stories are the essence of my stay in France. They are the source of inspiration and a tribute to my partners without whom I wouldn't have lived them. As I spend more time climbing with my partners they are becoming my friends. Friendship built on faith, trust and understanding is a diamond, and it's an inevitable thing to happen even to those who try to escape from responsibility. Short stories include tales of death defying routes and massive epics. They are written to entertain, educate and inspire both climbers and travellers.


Animals instincts
story of fear and joy in Fontainebleau
...suddenly one inch wide area around my spine right from the top to the bottom covers in cold sweat, milions of invisible hair grow up like on a snarling dog. At the same instant, a wild boar, which had approached left of my tent in a search for a morning chestnuts feast, stops its loud sniffing. It acknowledges I'm awake now. It can hear very irregular work of my lungs, faster heart beat and it can smell my sweat contained with the pheromones of fear...


Learning how to learn
Face Nord de la Tour Rounde
...the full moon slowly makes its way west, and when this last source of light hides behind Mont Maudit, Chris becomes one big shiver. From now on I manage to get short spans of sleep between his wild convulsions. I know he is suffering but I am freezing myself and we need to learn a lesson...


An epic of many mistakes
Ch'na Beru, Sixt-Fer-a-Chaval
...sheer drive to success and breath taking beauty of this Snow Queen's kingdom keep us going. I feel like Kay and Gerda surrounded by the walls of blue ice glittering in full moon light. By making snow bollards, drilling v- threads, down climbing and rappelling of left gear we are escaping from her cold greedy arms. Step by step she is giving up the ground...


Madness in slippers
Madness Tres Mince, Pre de Bar
...after 9 hours approach up the glacier my trekking boots got ice frozen and my big toes with them. They are white like a piece of frozen chicken. Sitting in a dark corner with our head torches on we are pumping pints of bitter, boiling hot tea down our throats...


Super cool Supercouloir
Supercouloir, E face MB de Tacul
...at the same span of time, as if in slow motion and almost as if Vinc anticipated it, he reaches out and grabs his ice axe as we flip over ripping the belay out of the crack. We roll in endless circles in a desperate attempt to arrest. Faster and faster spinning down, tied together by embolic cord we pull out each another's tools, which blindly grip frozen snow...


A cry over one man's stupidity
N face of Grand Charmoz
...now with fresh powder snow, Andy has to look for scarce pockets of thin ice. They provide just enough of support for his tools to carry on a full split acrobatic dance, up this vertical wall. I am patiently watching him from below, waist covered in spindrift trying to warm up by dodging ricochetting debris. "The intensity of the climbing overcame my fear of falling," he tells me later...

 


   
A kiss of a crevasse
Serak de Geant, Mer de Glace
...A split moment after Mick?s gone off my sight behind a sharp turn right I fail to take the same turn and I end up drifted out on its snow blown cornished lip. Missing the turn by inches I cause the cornish collapse under extra weight I had built up over 9 lazy months. Falling down I hit the mouth of a crevasse, located left below the turn, and flip back to dive head down its dark abbeys. All I perceive is the noise my skis make scratching the walls of this frozen well. All of a sudden, 15 feet down the crevasse...

 


1 An epic of many mistakes
2 A kiss of a crevasse
3 A cry over one man's stupidity
4 Super cool Supercouloir
5 Madness in sleepers
6 Learning how to learn
7 Animals' instincts