Alps 2007

Written by Adam Devitt-Spooner.

So here we were, university exams finally over, enough alcohol out of the blood stream to legally drive, and leaving the UK for nearly a month in the French Alps. Sweet.

We did the usual night-time drive and ended up in Lyon at 9am where totally randomly we stumbled upon the ‘TV Freestylers’! complete with massive array of playboats which were much more tempting to take on Lyon than a Burn! Gareth, Doug, Pikey and the lads let me steal their boats for several runs on the wave which we caught mid week at a fantastic level (ps. where is the video lads, you were filming all morning?!


Photo: Nat Rice
Paddler: Adam Devitt-Spooner, Lyon (in Pikey’s new Allstar)

A few more hours down the road and we hit Briancon in a massive thunderstorm, with the drive in high up on the mountain road above the Romanche being pretty interesting….


Photo: Nat rice
Location: Briancon before the rain came…

The first day we had a warm up on the Lr Guil and Lr Durance which was much higher than the previous 2years, and as we were about to find out, so was everything else!
The second day Nat and I found the Briancon gorge which was in full flood and stonking, a great fun run at this level, at the end we met 2 guys by the names of Brian and Phil who told us they were off to the Onde, so we decided to join them, and within 5minutes of getting on the Onde we were at the get out, it was also absolutely tanking! A couple of pints followed in Vallouise where we established we already realised we’d seen each other paddling before and they wouldn’t paddle anything I described as ‘Awesome’.


Photo: No idea (Night is a bit of a blur as the barman said they were draining the barrels off so we got free beer!) And believe it or not there is not ONE student in this photo!
Drinkers: Many, meal in L’argentiere.

Over the next few days as the rest of the Birmingham crew and associates arrived we paddled many classics including the Guisane, Chateau Q (Jo Meares will be able to give her own 500 word essay on that alone!), Claree, Gyr, Guil, Romanche, Severaisse etc but two that stuck in my mind were the Ubaye from La Fresquiere and the Biasse.


Photo: Matt Corke
Paddler: Adam Devitt-Spooner sinking on the Guil above Triple Step

We paddled the upper Ubaye in the morning but Nat, Kieran and I decided rather than just run the racecourse that afternoon, we’d run the 2km section above and what a blast that was at an awesome level. So many fast shoots with auto-boofs, and blind bends to check out, then fly round (now I was glad I’d brought the Burn!).
The Biasse was another story, an absolutely fantastic river but one where you needed to be on the ball all the way down. The series of waterfalls at the top also made for some great ‘Facebook’ profile pictures!  Numerous tight, steep rapids and drops were constant with the 500m long grade 5 section at the end described in Peter Knowles book giving you a massive adrenaline high to finish on!


Photo/Video: John Bowditch/Anna Walmsley
Paddler: Kieran Terry on the Biasse

Cheers for reading, Ads

And cheers for the boats lads so here’s your payback, my attempt at a 5/500!

(Rhod’s youtube video of our Alps trip 2007)    ( Nats website of photos)