Saturday, 25 July 2009

Belgium Reprised


A hot wind (29C) blowing down from the Grimsel Pass battered the tent and our nerves as it blustered all night long - so early next morning we upped sticks and headed north - to Belgium. I can't remember how many years it was since we were last there (could be 15) and my memory of the camp-site and the cliffs was a bit hazy! We got established at Villatoille (near Dinant) - the site was really busy but soon quietened down after 10:00 - very civilised.
We visited the crags at Dave - which Sherri described very accurately as a Belgium Stoney Middleton - the climbing was good, though very polished and I was shocked at how far apart the bolts were - must be getting old! One easy route I look Sherri up had 3 bolts in each of its two 30m pitches - I was glad I had plenty in reserve!
Sunday we called in at Marche les Dames and it was busy with weekend climbers, mostly Dutch and Belgian, with the odd German(!) and us. Another place that I had fogotten about; the climbing was good (though poished again) but the routes proved to be long, steep, pumpy pitches with spaced bolts - and some rather suspect grades - take me back to Kalymnos!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Swiss Pleasure - Indeed

Ten days here now, the weather has been a bit mixed, though mostly good, (witheringly hot at times too; 29C at midnight one day last week) but it has been great to be back. The beauty of the area is that to escape the heat it is simply a matter of driving uphill for 20 minutes or so to reach an area with the required temperature. The pain from the tooth (and the bill) have gone, and we have already pencilled in a possible return in September when things have cooled down a bit and the crowds have gone home.
The climbing has been tremendous, even better than I remember, I wonder how a Swiss Select in the good old RockFax style might go down - now there's a thought!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Swiss Granite - Yummy

Back to Handegg, it has been a while (seven years) and despite the showery weather, it is great to be back. Visits to both the Susten Pass and the Grimsel Pass to sample the climbing have been great - there is still a lot of snow about and many wet streaks on the big slabs, but there is still plenty to go at. Hikes into Eldorado and through the Aarschluct Gorge were also grand, the visit to a dentist in Meiringen for a root-canal filling less so. Not that it was especially painful, I just haven't had the bill yet! (Finally got the bill 635 Swiss Francs - now that really did hurt!)

Friday, 3 July 2009

Jura's a Park

The ferry crossing was silk-smooth and a quick nip across France saw us back to Pontarlier, in the Jura, just a spit from the Swiss border. It is seven years since we were down this way (seven great summers in Norway) but it felt good to be back in the area.
Some impressive thunder storms have been grumbling away on and off, it is also pretty hot, though camping at 3000' has taken the edge of the heat.
We had a walk up Mont d'Or, (4750') which was superb, myriad wild flowers, great views and a lovely breeze. The following day we visited a small crag actually in Pontarlier - an old quarry (much better than it sounds) with just over 100 routes, I cracked of a quick 13, nothing above F5+ but it was just nice to be moving. The reason for doing 13 - simple, I added them up wrong!

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Nafplio - climbing in the sun The trip to the Peleponnes was excellent, a lot of great climbing on a varied set of cliffs.We had a rathe...