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There’s nothing quite like skiing down from a mountainous environment of snow, ice, rock and sky into an alpine village and being greeted by window boxes filled with hardy spring flowers: daffodils, primula, hyacinth and pansies. In Vermont no one would think of putting flower boxes outside while there is still snow on the ground or a chance of freezing at night. There is something so cheerful and hopeful about this alpine tradition. I think I’ll adopt it myself next spring!

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Wishing all my readers a wonderful New Year ripe with new opportunities, challenges and friendships, excellent health and prosperity and acres of powder snow!

Thank you for reading, commenting on and sharing my new endeavor. Please keep spreading the word!

I’m kicking off 2010 with a color palette inspired by a vintage calendar and one of my favorite themes – winter in the Alps!

To see more about my color palette work, please visit my website or click on the color category on this site.



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Today I am sharing with you a book that has inspired my love of alpine experiences and environments  “La Haute-Route; Chamonix-Zermatt-SaasFee”. It’s a book of text and photographs by acclaimed Swiss mountaineer, Himalayan expedition veteran and avalanche expert André Roch. The Haute Route is a high alpine traverse that meanders through the Alps and valleys “starting” in the French village of Chamonix and linking with Zermatt and Saas-Fee Switzerland. Usually tackled in the spring on skis when the snow is stable, the route has many route variations and takes about five days to complete with a guide.


This book has been in my family for as long as I can remember. (My mother skied the Haute Route in 1950.) I have poured over the vividly contrasting black and white photos of glaciers, snowfields and clouds, smelling the snow, being swept away by the high mountain vistas and dreaming about leaving my own tracks in the fresh snow along La Haute Route.


Descent de l’Allalinhorn – Don’t you love the size of their baskets?!

One of the things that I love most about Roch’s photographs is the feeling of solitude and the camaraderie of the small groups of mountaineers dependent upon each other. One also recognizes how small a human is in such a grand arena. When I finally did ski the Haute Route about 50 years after this book was published, I found that the essence of the alpine experience was very much the same as when these photos were taken – just swap out the heavy equipment, and wool clothing for super lightweight and adjustable ski gear, waterproof and breathable apparel and improved safety devices.

Colotte et Dome

Calotte et Dôme de Rochefort vus du Glacier du Mont Mallet

La Haute-Route is written in French and was published in Lausanne though I am not sure when, since there is no published date. I’m presuming sometime pre-1950. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.


Ascension du Monte Rosa

Take a close look at the climber’s ropes and the absence of harnesses!


Ascension du Monte Rosa


Rimpfischhorn & Alderpass


This map is part of the inside cover – complete with coffee stains.


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