Thursday, 29 April 2010

Cote d'Azur - final touches

After three weeks of steady work from the Verdon down to the coast we met the rest of team RockFax/UKC for a week on the Cote d'Azur. It was a busy seven days with hot days checking routes on the rock, late nights quaffing in the pad and much quality socialising.
The glorious weather helped in making the week a success and many of the excellent crags in the area got a visit. Most of the team were completely new to the area and the feeling was that crags as varied as St Victoire, the Calanques, Chateauvert and Chateaudouble were excellent venues despite them currently being pretty much a blank on the map for UK climbers. With the week over, it will be good to get back to get back to a bit of peace and quiet!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Calm before the Storm - Troopers

Well Colin got away - on the TGV, though it sounds like he might have got caught in the huge logjam at Calais, where the ferry companies were charging 60€ for an 18€ ticket - ripper!
After dropping him off and watching the train whizz away we had a very pleasant walk round the harbour at Antibes - talk about some spectacular boats; my how the other half live!!

We have only had a couple of days of peace before it is time to move again; enough time for a final session sorting out St Jeannet, and a lovely local walk.
Tomorrow it is off to Brignoles for the UKC/RF spring jolly. Drafting in the 'big-guns' should give us a useful week of checking and photographing a whole variety of cliffs, the book is coming along really well, looks like we should be fine for an autumn publication.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Stuck in the Middle......

Friday we headed back towards Peillon but due to a rather threatening sky we side-slipped to Le Trinite. Colin was a bit bemused, a quarry AND north facing AND under the motorway AND in the rain - but Carrière en Fer à Cheval this wasn't. Great routes on amazing juggy rock, steep and long, plus with the added attraction of loadsa bolts - the French do things so well!
Mind you the big news is the ash - thanks to Iceland's latest export almost all flights in Europe are cancelled. Colin was supposed to be heading home tomorrow - but that ain't going to happen! Current best bets look like:
1) wait a week for the next EasyJet availability
2) get the train - nothing for at least three days
3) hire a car and drive

Time will tell!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Nice Work If You Can Get It.

We escaped the grandeur of the Verdon and wound (bloody roads) our way down towards the coast. We are in a superb pad close to Vence and spring is well on the way down here, unlike up in the hills; it is a good four degrees warmer in the day. We have visited a new cliff each day and a couple of them have been real belters; Peillon and Gorbio are outstanding venues - how come we have never been there before?
Colin is climbing as well as ever, and I am bobbing along in his wake - same as it ever was!
The contrast between the coastal area with its traffic, and these superb mountain villages is amazing. Once away from the car parking it is like stepping back a couple of hundred years.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Verdonski Beat

The 3 a.m. start was a shocker, but by mid afternoon we were established in Moustiers - a bit groggy but it was great to be back. Monday was hot and sunny, the crag of Felines was excellent, we ironed out more of the errors in the local guide and did some great routes as well.
Tuesday it was up to that big hole in the ground. It was 20+ years since Colin had been there, and he had never done a route. We headed for the Dalles Gris area, but there was a bit of a log-jam on the abseil so we doubled back and set about some of the short single pitch offerings under the rim. They look a bit trivial, but 30m pitches in such a dramatic setting are not to be dismissed - exhilarating stuff!
Moustieres is a great place to stay, central to a lot of good climbing and quaint enough to be living in a film set.

Photo left: the man surveys his empire.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Quick Lime

Seven weeks since we left Kalymnos, time has really flown by. The weather has been pretty friendly, and we have been busy too. Sherri has done a fair bit of supply teaching (money in the bank) and I have managed to photograph almost of of the Peak limestone cliffs, ready for a new guidebook now that Northern Limestone has sold out. It sold much faster than we expected so we are splitting the next volume, one for Yorkshire and one for the Peak. Getting the cragshots in the bag early has been bonus.
Before that there is the small matter of finishing the Cote d'Azure guide. Hopefully a month down there (in the sunshine!) should sort it!

A month in Switzerland

Gornergrat - rammed A month passed in Switzerland and it has been very pleasant, climbing, hiking, chilling and even doing a bit of to...