So far our search for the highest quality of rock (and of life in general) has been a mix of holiday and work. We have met so many friendly and inspiring people and had so much good food…as always the road is by far more important then the final destination. From Chamonix to Kalymnos via Arco and Finale Ligure we have now reached Geyikbayiri. Here we enjoy the calm country life in the green mountains above Antalya in southern Turkey. A place where you can focus 100% on your climbing and eating of course!
Stretching from the end of the Nantillons glacier to the summit of Grand Charmoz (3445m), this 650m high granite pillar is a big alpine rock classic in Chamonix. Grand Charmoz is one of those prominent peaks that you look up at from the valley every day and dream to stand on top of, and the Cordier Pillar is most defined line up the north-west face. A true alpine environment to approach with great care…
Bohuslän is Swedens foremost climbing area. The solid granite offers smooth vertical walls with clean splitters that makes it itch in the fingers of any crack climber. Trad-climbing areas like this are very rare in Europe. Those continuous finger or hand cracks you occasionally come across in the Alps (after 2h approach and 5 pitches of slab climbing) are lined up on 50-100m high walls, often rising off a lawn with playing children, a pick-nicking family or a few casual-looking cows. Basically, in Bohuslän, life is easy and cragging is tuff…
Kalymnos is possibly the most popular climbing crag in the world! After 6 days of non-stop climbing on Kalymnos I can tell you why. The easy access to exceptional natural rock formations, equipped by the safety standards of an indoor gym, makes it is so easy to get a lot of top-quality rock climbing done in a stunning environment.
Climbers in cooperation with locals have brought a massive increase to the tourism on Kalymnos. The flexibility shown by local tradesmen and the quantity of high-quality rock climbing achieved is impressive. However, Kalymnos have yet to prove the sustainability of a climbers based tourist economy as well as environmental responsibility.
I am happy to report that the winter is back to normal i the Alps, but must admit that thanks to the ‘Great Powder Depression’ we have rediscover the dimension of ice climbing after years of continuos skiing. Lyckily we are not far away from the ice climbing paradise of Cogne, an amazing place to take your ice climbing skills to the next level or just have a great holiday! About the ice falls, conditions and impressions from Cogne…
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My idea of ice climbing was that it was a pure hassle and involved a lot of suffering, I completely understood why so few girls were into ice climbing… But this year I gave it a chance, just to understand the mystery of why people practice this intimidating sport. I found out what ice climbing is all about, and in the mean time I got to explore some easy ice climbing spots around Chamonix. Recommendations and current conditions:
Seen from the Mer the Glace, the one satellite of Grands Charmoz catches the eye of every adventurous alpine climber. The esthetic shape of an index finger pointing towards the sky is a serious temptation for those who like to stand on top of a sharp rock needle with 1000m of air between them and the glacier.
The Normal Route to La République offers a relatively easy way to the summit needle. Still the route is 600m long, mainly grade 4 alpine rock climbing, that requires efficacy in rope maneuvers, route finding and progress on traditional gear. Overall the climb is a complete adventure that demands a passion for the mountains.
Mountaineering itself is a celebration of nature, but when practiced by tens of thousands climbers every summer it will inevitable cause progressive damage to the local environment. Summer alpinism is slightly controlled by the system of huts, cable cars and helicopter rescue that provides the means for the modern way of mountaineering, but it does not ensure that the environmental impact of the visitors is minimal. It is very much in the self-interest of alpinists to save our shrinking glaciers and ensure that regulation of mountaineering stays minimal in the Alps.
Having the right clothes significantly increases your comfort and also your chances for success when alpine climbing. Weather conditions and temperatures changes extremely quickly in the Alps summertime. You need to be able to stay dry and maintain the right degree of warmth from morning till the afternoon, without bringing your whole wardrobe in your backpack.
The dress code of summer mountaineering with examples of items and brands…
Until the 16th of may snow kept falling above 2000m every afternoon in Chamonix and we enjoyed the powder skiing off Aiguille du Midi. Often the powder was waist deep and most days only a few people were up there.
Once it stopped snowing the Mont Blanc massif got hammered with strong winds followed by more normal end-of-May temperatures. We skied some great lines in the Cirque Maudit and then ended the ski season with a successful ski descent of Dômes de Miage north face. A great ski for the motivated and advanced ski mountaineer.
It has been raining heavily in most parts of central Europe for the last 10 days, hence it has not been much else for us to do than to enjoy ourselves above the rain-snow limit. Powder skiing is now as good as it has been any week this winter in Chamonix!
The high mountains have accumulated large amounts of snow that stick to the steep faces, making the mountains look even whiter than in winter. Watch the scenery of the north faces in the Argenitere basin on the 8th of May. Seldom does the Triolet look that white…
After the Easter holidays Chamonix gets quiet. The town is now all green and flowery, snow is settling on the high mountain faces, and barbecues are held everywhere (even on Mer de Glace!). We have been busy ski touring and ski mountaineering around Chamonix, escaping the pollen invasion by staying in the mountains, but occasionally coming down to attend a barbecue or two… This is holiday times for us in Chamonix, and we will keep on skiing as long as the snow is there (probably another 3 weeks).