The Southern Alps with Rémi Loubet -

A Vertical Ambassador's Story

A word from Rémi

" The desire to go on an expedition with friends became more and more present following a rather peculiar year 2020. Given the difficulties of going abroad, we decided this year to stay in the French massifs. It's out of the question to stay in the crowd, what we like are the remote and difficult to access places. It's probably our passion for nature, we need peace, quiet and wild life. The objective was to feel the expedition and the remoteness just a step away from home. Mission successful, in five days we met no one."

"Skiing is a great excuse to travel and discover."

Rémi Loubet

The Expedition

We decided to explore the Southern Alps for a week. The Val d'Escreins is a valley with an alpine character, located between the resort of Vars and the Queyras. Last January, we reached the summit of the massif: the Font Sancte Nord, at 3385m. The winter access is long and difficult because the road is closed. The aim of this expedition was therefore to get as far away as possible from any source of life and to ski tour in complete self-sufficiency. We organized a base camp in the heart of the valley after having taken the necessary equipment in ski-pulk.

For this expedition and for all those where the goal is to sleep outside, the clothing is very important. For this you need to bring protective, warm and breathable clothing. It is out of the question to have snow in your trousers or in your gaiters. Breathable clothing is also essential because it prevents you from sweating too much and therefore from being less cold after effort.

The Equipment

The Mythic Jacket and Pants with MP+ membrane is well suited to this type of expedition. The Salopette pant is essential on trips like this as it prevents your back from being exposed to air or snow from getting inside. In addition, the jacket includes a snow skirt which makes for a very effective combo. This set is also equipped with vents, which are essential to avoid over heating during long crossings in the sun or during more intense efforts. Large vents are present under the arms and on the thighs, allowing a maximum amount of air to pass through.

As far as carrying is concerned, pulks are the order of the day to haul the camp necessities for a 5 day expedition. For the rest, a good backpack is essential. It must be compact enough not to get in the way, but also accessorized for easy access to the safety equipment. For this expedition, I chose the FreeAlper 30L backpack, which allowed me to have extra storage space with quick and easy access, a guarantee of speed and therefore safety. Thanks to its numerous pockets and fasteners, I was able to separate the shovel bucket from the rest of the dry stuff. Not only that, but the very practical and technical bag has a ski rack system that proves to be essential during the portage sections on the ridges or in the couloirs. The system is very simple and allows the skis to be attached in two movements. "

Here are the tips and essentials to know before leaving on an expedition according to Rémi:

1) You need to test and revise all your equipment before leaving: tents, fuel stoves, boots, crampons...

2) The ideal group size: 4, practical to make 2 rope parties, to have 2 tents and above all, ideal for card games!

3) Good quality food and plenty of it is essential for the morale of the troops and resistance to the cold.

4) Last advice: there are some very beautiful valleys in France, wild and not very accessible: there is no point in going very far.

Photo : Olivier Latouille