Bad beekeepin’, good houseleekin’, loadsasnowin’

I go away for a week and the bees go mad.


I don’t mean so mad that they put their honey in a pot for me – only that they seem to have filled up the hive to the top, probably with rape. And this despite them being a new swarm, in place only since late May. That’s 13 kg of honey (err, with wax mixed in of course, since the frames in the top super were foundationless, because I was in a hurry. They did not put their own comb neatly in rows).

Also while we were away the houseleeks have come out into full flower, even better than last year.


That one is unadjusted, but not really true colour. This one is adjusted and closer to eye.

And lastly, we were in the Stubai again. Sulzenauhutte to Innsbrucker Hutte this time. Some decent days but an awful lot of snow. Here’s the view down to the Blau Lacke and beyond the Sulzenauhutte (just visible nearly center) from half way up the so-called “Aperer Freiger”, “aperer” being a name sometimes given to the lower peaks off main summits (the main summit in this group being the Wilder Freiger). I’d assumed, in previous years, that it meant “lower” but it turns out to mean “snow free”, which fits with being lower of course.


The melting north

The Economist has a Special Report on “The melting north” (hopefully that works for you, I have a subscription so I’m not sure if its behind their paywall or not).

And what it says –

A heat map of the world, colour-coded for temperature change, shows the Arctic in sizzling maroon. Since 1951 it has warmed roughly twice as much as the global average. In that period the temperature in Greenland has gone up by 1.5°C, compared with around 0.7°C globally. This disparity is expected to continue. A 2°C increase in global temperatures—which appears inevitable as greenhouse-gas emissions soar—would mean Arctic warming of 3-6°C. Almost all Arctic glaciers have receded. The area of Arctic land covered by snow in early summer has shrunk by almost a fifth since 1966. But it is the Arctic Ocean that is most changed. In the 1970s, 80s and 90s the minimum extent of polar pack ice fell by around 8% per decade. Then, in 2007, the sea ice crashed, melting to a summer minimum of 4.3m sq km (1.7m square miles), close to half the average for the 1960s and 24% below the previous minimum, set in 2005… There is no serious doubt about the basic cause of the warming. It is, in the Arctic as everywhere, the result of an increase in heat-trapping atmospheric gases, mainly carbon dioxide released when fossil fuels are burned

– is not desperately exciting for anyone who has been paying attention. What is interesting is that there isn’t even the smallest sop to the deniers in there. The sea ice record is taken for, well, for exactly what it is. There are no stupid quibbles about the temperature record. No-one wastes their time asking Lindzen or Spencer what they think of the trends, and no-one proposes that “its the sun” or space aliens or whatever.

Of course, the Economist (the clue is in the name) is also interested in other matters, so it looks at the possibilities of shorter shipping routes, and expansion of farmland. But ends with:

Yet how to reconcile the environmental risks of the melting Arctic with the economic opportunities it will present? The shrinkage of the sea ice is no less a result of human hands than the ploughing of the prairies. It might even turn out as lucrative. But the costs will also be huge. Unique ecosystems, and perhaps many species, will be lost in a tide of environmental change. The cause is global pollution, and the risks it carries are likewise global. The Arctic, no longer distant or inviolable, has emerged, almost overnight, as a powerful symbol of the age of man.


* A short walk in the Stubai: day 2: Aperer Turm

Stubai, again

I don’t think I mentioned that last summer we dragged the kids off to the Stubai (Franz Senn and Sulzenau), and they liked it enough that we did it again this year (FSH and Neue Regensburger). Stuff from that when I have time, but in the meantime I know I *have* mentionned my shiny new GPS watch which I took with me. And here is one result (Westliche Seespitze from the Neue Regensburger Hutte):

Cutesy, eh? Note that the embed is a bit stupid, so you’ll have to click on “satellite” to see stuff, and then zoom in on the peak for the most interesting stuff. But I wish I’d known the shape of the peak from above before I climbed it.

More on using the watch (Garmin Forerunner 110):

* the battery doesn’t last too well. I seemed to get not much more than 5h from it when fully charged, and less than 4h if I didn’t take care to charge it, which isn’t good for mountaineering. It needs some kind of “occaisional” mode to cope with slower sports.
* not having a height indicator as-you-go is really annoying. Co-ords would be nice too (though hard to use) but no height is bad.
* otherwise, it still Just Works and is convenient and lightweight. And the alarm was good for waking me up for breakfast.


* links to old pix
* Diary stuff from 2001 that I forgot to link to before
* article
* Rowing and Running (again)

Innsbruck / Stubai

In 2001 I had the chance to visit the Stubai for a couple of days at the start and in the middle of a conference in Innsbruck. It was wonderful, and I didn’t kill myself. I’ve finally uploaded the pix; see flickr if you’re interested.


The mountains are great for either solo’ing, or an easy introduction. And the huts are splendid too. And not all the people look as silly as that, though a beret is remarkably practical.

Miriam and Miranda forced me to shave the beard off, eventually.