Monday, 15 March 2010

The start of summertime

Rock climbing in the sunshine at the start of the week. It was so warm, we were climbing in t-shirts and I even managed to get a little sun burnt, incredible!! It feels like summer is here and now it’s time to get back into training hard. After most of the winter off rock climbing, everything feels new and unnatural again. Definitely lacking the confidence and desired mental state to get into a proper flow whilst climbing. Much more mileage required.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Bouldering in Ardeche

After our freezing modelling stint, we headed south to Ardeche for a couple of days climbing in warmer conditions. We found an amazing enchanted forest, bouldering spot with huge trees, incredible rock formations, a flowing river and mysterious caves. We spent 2 days bouldering here and still have so much left to do, we will return in the summer to camp and explore more.

Friday, 5 March 2010

New modelling career?

The following day we headed to Vallouise to be models for the day in a shoot for an outdoor catalogue for a UK company. Typical, after all those warm days, it was bloody freezing, perfect conditions for hanging around outside!! I lost count of the amount of jackets we modelled, everywhere from frozen lakes and ski pistes to little alpine villages. It was much harder work than expected so don’t think I’ll be making a career out of it.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Last of the ice

The exceptionally warm weather and some new snow has accelerated the end of the ice this season. My last day out was with Lucy Creamer, one of Britain’s most accomplished female climbers, to try a long route in Fressineres. The valley is beautiful and the ice routes, well what was left of them looked fantastic. It was just a shame that everything, literally everything was falling down. So we headed to another venue for some roadside ice cragging. It was great to get out and climb with Lucy, who led a route with a sustained ice pillar. The placements felt good but the quality of the ice was like sugar and we were dubious about the security of our ice screw placements.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Holiday on ice

February was a great month for getting out climbing with pals on ice. Judi was over from Ireland and our friend Richard from Reading. Richard led his first ice route in great style and really took to ice climbing. To start we went to the cascade artificielle in Aiguilles, a perfect location to practice on steep ice in a lovely location, just one minute from the car! We then went to try Canyon de Prareboul but the ice routes we’re in great condition so we did the first pitch of a 4+ route and lowered off a huge pillar. The lead felt scary as the ice formations made placing ice screws difficult but it was good to get on something, as the day was fast becoming a washout. Thanks to Richard & Judi for a great climbing holiday out here.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sunny rock

Only in the French Alps could you be skiing one day and rock climbing in glorious sunshine the next. We visited our local crag with pals to enjoy the winter sun and escape the crowds of French and English tourists on half term break.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Bailey goes ski touring

It was all worthwhile for the dog when we took him out on his first ski tour. He loved charging through the snow, trying to keep up with us as he literally swam through deep powder. I think the dog faired better than me, trying to get to grips with off-piste skiing after just 6 days skiing ever!! It was super hard work and the day ended with one very tired girl and an even more tired dog.

Monday, 1 February 2010

The incredible journey

So after a quick visit to London for work it was off to Sheffield to collect the dog and take him back to France. Bailey isn’t into car journeys and spent 14 hours panting and shaking his way down to the Ecrins.

Friday, 8 January 2010

New toys...

Many of the best ice climbing areas now require access on ski. Robin tried it this week and loved it, so we've gone all out to get super fit and get into the mountains on skis.
A huge amount of cash later, I'm now the proud owner of touring skis, boots, skins, touring bindings and ski crampons. Shame I've only done 6 ski days so far!!
How hard can it be really?

Thanks to Christoph at Latitude Rando in Chantmerle for his patience with a) my poor french b) a customer who doesn't even know how to get in and out of ski boots properly and c) a girl who knows which boots she should have as they fit best but doesn't like the colour and makes a protest about it in the shop.
I was sensible in the end despite the fact that the really uncomfortable pair for hard core skiers matched my skis much better!!