Traveling Texan-Hunting Chamois in the French Alps

Traveling Texan-Hunting Chamois in the French Alps

Not just any hunt, but a challenging adventure that was not only mentally and physically demanding, but incredibly rewarding.

Story and photography by Bob Zaiglin

Upon reaching our jump-off point at the base of a snow-covered mountain, heavy raindrops pelted my raingear as I exited the rig. 

Shortly after distributing our gear into waterproof bags, I was following Thierry and Laurent, my guides, up a narrow mountain trial, now a small creek with enough runoff to support brook trout.  Initially, I avoided getting my boots soaked by walking on the snow-covered rocks paralleling the run-off, but being dangerously slippery, I simply entered the drainage using rocks at the surface to keep my shoes as dry as possible.

Hiking upwards through dark timber for approximately two hours, the rain suddenly transformed into a major snowstorm, with cotton-white crystalline snowflakes as big as nickels, melting upon impact on my raincoat.  Snow depth increased with every grueling step upward, forcing us to put on snowshoes, which facilitated our ascent.

Steadily negotiating our way up the barely recognizable trail, blanketed in a foot or more of snow, was as picturesque as it was physically demanding.  The incessant force of gravity intensified with each step until Laurent, a local guide assisting Thierry, dropped to one knee and pointed upward, where not 100 yards above us a majestic shellac-black-coated chamois rose from its bed on a snow-covered, rocky outcrop to stare down at us through the intense snowstorm.

To read more, click here to SUBSCRIBE