I am sitting at my friend Gioís house in Courmayeur. Luci is in Egypt with her parents on the Sinai celebrating their birthday (they were both born on the 31st of May). I canít deal with resort culture so I stayed in Italy to mess around on my motorcycle and start opening the hut.
Day-before-yesterday Gio and I hiked up to Boccalatte to assess winter damage and to see if anyone has attempted to climb the Grandes Jorasses. We found the place in surprisingly good order after the winter. No major damage other than the railing that comes down every winter. We just put up an old climbing rope now and even that gets torn down when the snow on the roof slides. The biggest problem, though, is that the radio-phone is having a power problem. I found the battery warning light on and the battery dead. It is solar powered and I suspect a problem with either the battery or the charge controller. It is our problem but not our hardware so we will have wait for a technician from the phone company to come and have a look. A potentially damaging issue that we will just have to take in stride. Unfortunately, my camera was giving me grief so I didnít get any pictures.
Today I have a helicopter tech training session with the Hut Keepers Association down at the helo pad in Aosta. I have no idea what to expect. It is something Luci set up for me. I also have some random shopping to do for the hut and I have to bring a water sample I took from the hut to be analyzed. I will be around in the valley for the week do stuff for the hut and maybe go for a hike or two.
Next week, a friend from Antarctica is coming to Europe for a motorcycle gathering in Slovenia. Heíll be passing through Italy so he offered to let me join their ride for a bit. It will be pretty tight with our first reservations at the hut next Friday but I think I try to fit in a day or two with them.