I aim to get three books out this year, which will be a record if it happens, lets see what we can do.
Monday, 26 December 2011
I aim to get three books out this year, which will be a record if it happens, lets see what we can do.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
21st of December - tomorrow is the winter solstice, and the shortest day. The forecast for this week was pretty unsettled, and we made the usual mistake of looking it it through English eyes. In the event it has been a little breezy and there has been some showers, though always at night - the days have been warm and sunny with a pleasant breeze, like good summer days back home, though without the humidity. It sounds particularly unpleasant back there; several weeks of sleet, freezing rain and a lot of greyness - yeuk!
The are a tiny number of climbers here, possibly less than a dozen at a guess, though it may well busy-up over Christmas. The settled weather means that the cliffs are as dry as I have ever seen them in December - which is great. My route tally for the trip is in the low 200s and I am approach a little target I set myself of 500 individual ticks on Kalymnos.
We had a Swiss couple stopping next door for 10 days and they were stunned at how quiet the place was and how good the climbing was too. Turns out they are great fans of RockFax and the guidebooks which was nice. The were interested in the publishing schedule including the new Costa Blanca guide and especially the one to Ariege - an area they had never heard of - not for long though!
Right: Kantouni beach - heavy rain forecast!
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Currently I am on about 480 'unique ticks' (approaching 30% of the total) on the place and 99% of them have been great. Only three or four have been verging on 'poor' though these were mostly new routes that will doubtless clean up.
I suspect that there are other Kalys out there on the horizon, but off course a destination needs a certain number of routes (maybe 250+) to make it worth a visit by itinerant climbers - and 250 routes is a lot of hard work! Of course development here continues apace - the photo on the right shows one of Claud Idou's recent crags - looks like five lines of about 16 clips each - should keep us busy next trip!
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Graham and Dan have a few more days left (a great trip with over a 100 routes 6c-7b), somehow I don't think they are looking forward to winter in the UK that much, especially with the forecast for frost and snow.
We have booked a homeward flight too - though not for about another seven weeks - there is no need rush these things!
Almost a week later and Team Parkes were escorted off the island early this morning (just to make sure they actually leave) and then there were two - 1st time for almost two months - peace descends!
Friday, 18 November 2011
Helen only has one one day left of her holiday, hope the wind drops so she can escape - back to that 'other' island and a very different world.
The forecast looks rather good, I don't think we will be shooting off home any time soon.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
The Binks/Binney team have been and gone, a great time was had by all. They have been replaced by Team Parkes who are well into "Island Life" and bagging a host of classic routes.
We have settled into the winter routine, climbing, walking, chilling and a bit of work. There is steady progress on Peak Limestone, Costa Blanca and Ariege, it looks like a busy 12 months ahead. We had better make the most of our 'down-time' on Kalymnnos whilst we can!
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
In the evening I heard that Cote d’Azur rock had won the Outdoor Writer and Photographers’ Guild “Guidebook of the Year” competition, which was great. That is four times I have won it in nine years, I guess that must be some kind of record. Of course Alan James is the one to blame - without his vision I would probably still be producing small scale, low volume guides to remote areas and even more worrying, still be teaching.
Monday, 24 October 2011
As ever they set to work with a will - 3 days in and 30 routes ticked already! Make my 50 routes in 2.5 weeks look a bit feeble - I have just been pacing myself honest!
Went to Miltiadis on Telendos today - one of Bruno Fara's discoveries. We were all pleasantly surprised, though maybe we shouldn't have been - they were superb (and at 35m - big) routes on great rock, and really well bolted - 17 clips on the 7a that Colin did on-sight.
The man himself was there hard at work as ever, creating more routes for us to do - he had broken his ice axe whilst hacking out wiry bushes - I really must buy him a beer (or maybe a Pernod) in respect of all the great work he has done.
Thursday, 20 October 2011
The snorkelling has been a treat - the water is so warm, that staying in for an hour is no chore. It sounds like autumn has well and truly arrived in the UK - it might be the Grit Season, but personally I would rather be down here!
The Greek National Strike almost buggered Colin and teams travel plans but in the end it all went off OK. As I type they are having a meal just across the water, waiting for the late ferry and a tame taxi driver (me!) to collect them.
The Babis Bar is full to busting so we have moved into Pothia in the lower floor of the Babis home. We miss the sunsets, but not the incessant banging doors - I think all the bloody Frenchies stopping there were born in a field. The cats that we looked after last Christmas are all still here (well four out of five are - Coco went awol and never returned). That gives Sherri another bunch of hungry mouths to feed and bellies to tickle - besides mine that is.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
We met one team that arrived two days late because of the Greek general strike, have had three wet days (plus a dry one) and are going home tomorrow!!!
A quick ride out reveals that the cliffs are as wet as I have ever seen them and there are throngs of disconsolate climbers all over the place.
Mind you - the forecast is superb!
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
This tme around there are many more 'regular' tourists about, loads more shops and restaurants are open, the whole place feels much more in 'summer-mode' than ever before. I don't want to be a grouch, but I hope they all push off home soon and let the place return to the sleepy backwater we know and love!
A quick word with Diana confirmed what we thought, Babis Bar is solidly booked through to the start of November and several hotels that we have never seen open are fully booked!
Friday, 30 September 2011
I bumped into Richard Peart at the ticket kiosk. I haven't seen Dick for a few years, I first climbed with him in about 1967 - he took me (a terrified beginner) up Haste Not on White Ghyll in Langdale. I can still reminded how all the runners fell out on the crucial traverse, to say I wasn't a happy bunny would be an understatement! We had plenty to talk about.
The fast boat was exhilarating and a bit bumpy as it skimmed the waves, then we slipped into Pothia. Mike Kardoulis (the AutoMarket) boss met us on the harbour front with this years banger (a battered blue Panda in contrast to the normal yellow one) and greeted us with a very appropriate "Welcome home".
Friday, 23 September 2011
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Peak Limestone is pretty well ready for handing over, so I need get Costa Blanca and Ariege ready to take Greece with me and get them ready for publication some time next year.
Sunday, as ever, was Grit Day, but with heavy showers forecast we all headed to Burbage North. It is quite a while since I have been there, and a pleasant and social time was guarateed, with climbing and ribald leg-pulling in equal measure.
I did 11 route (mis-counted - I thought it was a dozen!) and I even led Tiptoe for the 1st time - since I put it up in 1972, in the intervening 39 years I have only ever soloed it - must be getting soft!
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
The flight was on time, though the Sunday night Zurich traffic was a bit grim as was the midnight arrival at Meiringen. Monday was damp on and off but it was good to get organised, stocked up and to have a quick walk round the area just as a leg stretcher.
Tuesday was perfection, bright, sunny and cool at 6000' as well as incredibly quiet. We did two routes one of eight pitches and one of four, both on immaculate granite before heading back down the hill - suddenly the hassles were all worthwhile.
On top of that the forecast looks brill and it is pi55ing it down back in the UK!
Six days in and the sun is still shining. Did a 1400' route on the slabs above Raitrichverbodensee yesterday - brilliant. I think Sunday will be a day of rest!
More granite and a smattering of local limestone just to keep in touch, only a couple of day left now - but it has been great.
Thursday, 1 September 2011
We have looked at the options, but all of the Med is still far too hot, and the high hills far too unsettled - so it looks like we will be stopping at home.
I have been working flat out to get Peak Limestone ready to hand over so at least the pressure is off there. As ever Graham and Dan (the Parkes Twins) have helped get more shots for the book, we have visited some pretty esoteric places in our travels!
Anyway we are heading back to Kalymnos in four weeks so that is something to look forward too.
I had a days driving up at at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, under the auspices of the AIM 'Skills' programme. The weather was kind and it was an excellent chance to see what the Sti could really do; 300 bhp, four-wheel-drive and fat tyres all add up! The fact that we could raid Colin's garden on the way up and visit my parents for fish 'n' chips on the way back were bonuses.
Update: the forecast for the Alps is much better again - trip back on!
Sunday, 21 August 2011
As ever 'The Team' have been very helpful with with checking routes over, visiting out of the way places and posing for photos - always turning up with a nice array of coloured T-shirts. See Dan and Graham (The Green Team) in the shot to the left.
The weather has been good though often a bit sweaty, there has been a lot of donkey work putting all the corrections into the master document, a good excuse for staying indoors on the hotter days.
A couple more weeks and it is off again - Switzerland this time. Apparently the Alps have had a crap summer, lets hope they have a decent autumn!
Friday, 12 August 2011
I have pressed on with Peak Limestone, there have been lots of bits and pieces to tidy up and check over, conditions down in the Limestone Dales is great at the moment, and everywhere is remarkably quiet. We have pushed the publication date back by six months, there seemed little point in 'full steam ahead' and bring the book out just as the season ends - a Spring launch makes much more sense.
A Sunday on Stanage with most of the 'usual suspects' was very pleasant with a bunch of old classics ticked off, good routes and good company.
It is six weeks until we head for Kalymnos so we have book a 10 day slider to Handegg for early September just to stay keen. Lets hope the weather is kind.
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
We had four nights at the oddly named Koppang (sounds like a Batman comic annotation) by the banks of Norway's biggest river - the Glømma. The place was all set for salmon and trout fishing, though we found a good sport crag not far to the south, and had an excellent walk up some 3500' foot top just to the west whilst thunderstorms grumbled all around. The strangest thing was the DARK - all a bit spooky after so long with 24 hour daylight.
Then it was on south to Larvik and a much smooth crossing of the Skagerrak than the one going the other way 10 weeks ago to the day. The next morning we had a walk on the glorious beach at Tornby and quick ride across Denmark, to Esbjerg to be upgraded to Commodore Class yet again. The forecast is for a flat calm crossing - brilliant.
Monday, 25 July 2011
Thorbjørn and Lutta have done us proud and saved us a fortune by letting us stop in the Pink House in Henningsvaer, that is a few drinks we owe them. I think we may have persuaded them to sample Kalymnos in the Autumn, so I can square up with a few Metaxas at Babis Bar!
We have booked on the Hurtigruten (did it by phoning the ship!) from Svolvaer to Trondheim, after a month+ of perpetual daylight it will be a bit strange down there in the dark!
Sunday, 17 July 2011
The approach took us a steady hour, and the route another couple. The five graded pitches (4+, 4, 5-, 4+, 5-) up grooves, corners and chimneys were a bit graunchy and the tricky 'hand-traverse' had Sherri pondering for a while. The view from the top extended from the rocky spike of Stetind over to the east, all the way round to the 'Lofoten Wall' sticking up beyond the blueness of the West Fjord. A report from the UK of more appalling weather back there was just the cherry on the cake.
We had out butties by the summit cairn, then headed down. Fortunately there is a bolted abseil line so the descent isn't too much of a problem though I did wonder for a moment how Martin Ekroll and Angel Johannesson got back down in 1888 after their First Ascent - impressive stuff.
Now it is about time to head back to Lofoten - there's fishing to be done!
Monday, 11 July 2011
At 1700' we expected it to be cool, thought the 24 hr daylight and a 'bubble' of warm air meant the temperature reached a sweaty 27C, the hottest we have ever experienced in Norway.
Not to be phased we have done some fine walks up in the hills, including Haugfjell and its bizarre ladder which is the only way through the extensive cliff-line, as well as some excellent sport climbing down by the coast.
The 'cabin' is about as plush as you could wish for and there is the added bonus of 'cheap' (all things being relative) shopping over the border in Sweden.
Last night the fog rolled in and today the temperature was a more reasonable 10C, with a low of 4C in the night - a bit more like it!
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Weekends in the Climbing Cafe have been great/crazy depending on your outlook, with live music well into the small hours and a great social scene. The music doesn't usually start untill gone 10:30, and we have had to bail at 2:00 a.m. whilst everything was still in full swing!
For a 'rest' we took Thorbjørn's Jack Russell Elvis for a walk up Tjelbergtinden - I am not sure which of the three of us was most knackered by the time we got back to the car, but I'm guessing it wasn't Elvis!
Saturday, 25 June 2011
The 24 hour daylight takes a bit of getting used to but we are coping, though we have had some pretty late nights.
The weather was has been a bit cool and grey but the forecast is better - time for some rocking I feel. Trouble is I don't have a guidebook - how strange is that!
Saturday night was a session in the Climbing Cafe, it started quietly enough but when Mr West fired up his electric guitar the place began to really rock - we left at half-past midnight - and the locals were just getting into their stride - and I have to say, despite having some doubts, the music was brilliant!
Sunday, 19 June 2011
In the event there was a cancellation and we landed a 'suite' for £70 - about a 20% of the going rate - SD comes up trumps again.
Sailing up the coast is a great way to see the amazing array of undeveloped rock that forms Norway's west coast.
Monday, 13 June 2011
The second bank holiday caught us unawares, with no cash to pay the campsite and little left in the larder. Hopefully tomorrow we can pay our bills and escape, heading off towards Colin's flight home on Thursday. Beyond that we have a ferry from Trondheim to Bodø booked, though the E6 is blocked by floodwaters - could be interesting!
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
The week+ in the Drammen area was really excellent with a lot of quality cliffs, probably Muserud was the highlight (photo left). Then on the way to Nissedal we stopped at a crag called Espedaled near Bø and it was great, though sheltered in the forest it was almost unbearably hot. The place is already pencilled in for a return visit on the way back to the airport.
Nissedal is a superb as ever; it was busy over the weekend, with Ascension Day on Thursday and Sweden's National Day on Monday the place was pretty busy with lots of folks making a long weekend. It has all gone quiet again now though. We visited a small sport crag on Saturday as we thought the bigger cliffs might be busy. As it turned out there was a team of 10 jolly Swedes there. Unannounced and out of the blue one of them piped up "We thought you guys would be up on Haegarfjell" - apparently they had been reading my Blog - it is a small world!
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Colin arrived late Thursday and the weather has been pretty mixed, though we have managed to climb three days out of the four, and by keeping one eye on the sky we have managed to stay dry. The cliffs are varied but all share superb rock, fantastic settings and a high level of fixed gear. The forecast is superb so in a couple of days we are heading over towards Nissedal. The distant view from yesterday’s crag revealed plenty of snow up in them thar hills - might be interesting!
The weather has perked up it was 25C today (Friday 3 June) which was a bit of a shock. More great cliffs and brilliant routes!
Saturday, 21 May 2011
Oddly for late May gales are forecast tomorrow (Harwich to Esbjerg) and Tuesday (Hirtshalls to Larvik) - oh bugger!
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
We have manage to fit a top-box on the STi (the petrol heads at Halfords were amused) and we have Colin booked for three weeks (Newcastle to Oslo £10 return!!) so it is back to our 2nd (or is it 3rd) home - Norway. No return date fixed.
Monday, 9 May 2011
There were a couple of German climbers there - who were grabbing a few last route before getting the Hull to Rotterdam boat home that evening. It turned out we 'rescued' them in Lofoten a few years ago when their abseil rope got jammed. Small world!
Burbage South was another great day, the crag dry but just a bit crusty and skiddy in places. Graham Dragged me up Millwheel Wall (E1 5b) a route that used to be a regular solo of mine - that felt really tough. It brought to mind the 1st time I did it back in about 1975, Steve Warwick belayed be whilst I top-roped it a couple of times, then I soloed it. I looked back down the route from the final jugs to see him hot on my heels - "you made it look so easy" was his reason for the audacious solo!
By early evening I was in the clutches of the grimmest cold I have had for years, it has taken me a week to get over it - maybe that's why the routes felt so hard!
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