Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Chamonix

A steady drive from Moustiers in gradually deteriorating weather and we landed back in Chamonix just a week later than last year. Again there is masses of snow around and some pretty unsettled weather, though the forecast is for an improvement, fingers crossed I might get a bit of cragging done.
We used the poor weather to look up Jon (Monty) de Montjoy who has lived higher up the valley in Valorcine for the 20-odd years since we last met!
A walk up to the Bosson Glacier, in intermittent snow showers offered great views of the Aiguilles and good chance for a leg stretch. The 120 person Midi cable-car gave a touch of scale to the scene.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Some Rest Day!

We had to dodge the showers and thunderstorms for a few days then the weather perked up nicely and I got all the shots I needed. With that being the case Sherri had the idea of a nice rest-day activity - we would hire a pedalo on the lake where the Verdon Gorge debouches. Off we went - heading up-stream against the current, through magnificent rock scenery as far as some impressive cascades, then it was back - against the wind - it turned into two hours of thigh-busting exercise - now I need a rest day to get over the rest day - sheesh!

There is some superb looking DWS up there for the summer and also some 'proper' climbing in the most humongous caves. A couple of lads were at work on a superb looking route, in one of the cave that towered over their moored canoe - no pedalos for those guys, they obviously don't have the legs for it!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Head for the Hills

The four months spent on the Cote d’Azure were great but as Easter approached it started warming up and getting busy - sure signs that it is time for us to start drifting back north. Work on the guide went well - it is looking great and will give folks a chance to see the area in a new light - who knows the Cote d’Azur might even become popular again.

We though we would start the journey home with a couple of weeks stopping close to the Verdon, in the ancient town of Moustiers - quite a spot. It is 20+ years since I did some of the great classics in the Verdon with Graham. We would set of from the campsite with rack and ropes, rock shoes loosely tied and hitch down to the Couloir Sampson. Tramp through the tunnels and then head up one of the big lines - the 12+ pitch outings of Ula, La Demande or the Squirrel’s Pillar were the real classics. Zip up the route, then hitch back to camp, and take the shoes off! Tell that to the youth of today - and will they believe you!

After the Verdon it is back to Chamonix for a week then Blighty - the ferry is already booked - bugger!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The Last Supper

Seventeen weeks - my that went fast! (92 sunny days - 18 cloudy days and 12 wet ones). We arrived in the depths of winter, just before the solstice, and now, the equinox has been and gone and it is warming up by the day. There are flowers everywhere and the little town of Agay is getting busier. All this can only mean one thing; it is time to move on - Moustiers and the Verdon call. It is less than a couple of hours from here, but it will doubtless be very different up in the hills - hopefully quieter and cooler.
I might even get a bit of climbing done!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Not Long Now!

A useful visit to Toulon for cragshots, some non-serious sea-cliff exploring (pictured) - a big rush to finish Western Grit before Alan went on holiday - the past ten days have been all go !
The warm weather has brought some geckos (six at the last count) out around the pad and the whole valley echoes to the call of frogs every evening - ribbit, ribbit. A few damp days meant we had to pep up the log-pile, as it was starting to look a bit sad - we don't want to be caught short - even though the forecast is good for the next 10 days.
A recent sport has been trying to catch sight of the International Space Station as it has been passing overhead - impressively bright and super fast against the backdrop of stars! One night we even saw the Space Shuttle too - a short distance ahead of the ISS, on its way back home.
Ten days before we head to the Verdon - that should be interesting - can't wait!

Pootling about the Peleponnese

Sampatiki - a great place to stay Colin on another classy 6a+ An easy journey got us from Kalymnos to Athens where we collected Andy...