Sunday, 28 June 2009

So this is what people do on holiday

After all that climbing we had to be tourists and go to the beach. It was great to chill out, swim, eat and relax on the coast before driving home. Although I have to admit I was bored after a day so looks like I'll never make a beach baby.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Our final mission

And so we reached the pinnacle of our trip literally, to climb Aiguille Dibona.

At over 3000 meters, the tower of rock that is Dibona is superb. With our route Visite Obligatiore taking one of the best lines on over 300 meters of 6a ground. We walked up to the mountain refuge the previous day allowing us plenty of time to ascend in the morning. Although this time we were climbing with a huge pack containing our mountain boots for the snowy descent. The climb was absolutely amazing, lots of varied pitches on excellent, steep rock. The second always had a hard time hauling up the huge pack but it was easily worth it. It took us 12 hours in total, 9 or so climbing followed by 3 more hours to descend back to the comfort of the van. Not bad on 1 litre of water and a Lion bar!

An incredible route and an incredible end to all our climbing efforts.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Partying hard in La Berarde

We moved in search of pastures new to La Berarde for more long rock routes surrounded by mountains. Not expecting to meet a bunch of crazy pirates from Madrid! Our new pals combined with a night of live music and dancing in the village made for a tricky ascent of Tete Blanche – try over 10 pitches (400 meters) of up to 6b climbing on 4 hours sleep and a hangover from hell!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Girlie mission on a 11 pitch TD route

High in the mountains we toiled up 11 pitches of 6a ground to reach the summit of Tour Termier at 3,070m. The climb was amazing, starting really well but the altitude and battered bodies from 4 weeks n the road are beginning to show.

The last couple of pitches were a huge effort for both of us!!! We descended in the snow in our runners for added fun.

At the end of the day what better way to relax than chill with a beer and enjoy the view!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Easily the best climbing to date...

Tour Termier, great quality climbing in beautiful surroundings high in the mountains with fabulous views perfect for wild camping in the van. We visited twice as we loved it so much and there are a couple of routes to return to.

Thanks to the guys from the Foreign Legion for showing it to us!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Epic adventure on the River Kwai

We made a team ascent of the River Kwai today. The bridge was a little let down, nothing more than a rope hanging above a big void with a dead tree to walk across. Natalie, Chris, Sari and Lou all had a good day out together and even got to use our headtorches descending by multiple abseils in the dark. Bloody rope got stuck again, thanks to Chris for soloing back up to free it so we could get down safely.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Third time and still not lucky

After wild camping in a small spot next to a dodgy van, I finally managed an hours sleep before our 6am alarm. Watched far too many scary movies about woods, strange vehicles etc and my overactive imagination kept me awake. Unphased we went out to try La Demande again hoping it would be easier than last time. Alas, no, still difficult and we decided to be sensible and retreat after the first pitch. Especially given that there were just 4 bolts in the first 30m and we didn't fancy climbing another 13 pitches with the prospect of 10-20m falls!! So we tried a different route instead and I had to speed climb on the lead to try and beat incoming rain...I've never climbed poorly bolted 6a ground so fast!! We're returning to Ecrins now as we've definitely had our fill of Verdon.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Bailed out by the foreign legion!

We headed off to the Ecrins for some alpine action and rock routes in Aillefroide. We did two fabulous routes in glorious sunshine with moutains all around us. Including an easy but spectacular 500m 12 pitch route. On the way down (our first abseil of 6) we met a couple of guys climbing up and said hello. Another abseil later we were pleased to have been sociable as our rope got stuck and we couldn't pull it down. Quite stressful hundreds of meters of the ground with no other means of retreat!! Luckily our girlie calls were answered and the guys from the French Foreign Legion we met on the way up freed our rope for us on the way back down. It turns out the tape at the end of the rope had got stuck!! Good lesson to learn with people above you : )

Monday, 1 June 2009

Verdon calling

Back on the road again, we headed to Verdon to tick La Demande once more. the dodgy forecast put us off so we climbed La Derobee (6b, 5 pitches) instead. The following day we went for a team ascent with Natalie of an easier route L'Herbietto (10 pitches, 5b). We knew bad weather was on it's way...the storm clouds gathered and before we knew it we had a collection of hail stones in our chalk bags with lightening and thunder all around us. We climbed the last few pitches super fast and retreated to a cave to hide until the weather passed and we could get back to the car. Great adventure!!!