Saturday, 23 March 2013

This Sceptered Isle

Ariège > Barcelona > Kos > Kalymnos; the travelling was as easy as ever. Great to be back, it is green and remarkably quiet, we were the only team on Sea Breeze/Pocket Wall yesterday, we thought it might be busy but it is obvious the rush hasn't started yet. The couple of week in Sicily means I still have a bit of rock fitness and thick skin, it was a nice change from the more usual September scenario of extreme heat/humidity, crowds and sore digits!
The weather in the UK looks appalling - even worse than normal - which makes the warm breeze, lapping waves and dry rock a double treat.
Thursday 28th March - not surprisingly quite a few folks have started to arrive - though it is still very quiet compared to 'peak season'. We popped out between the showers(!) and I logged my 1000th climb on Kalymnos (which includes 528 different routes) might be some kind of a record!
Thursday 4th April - a big thunderstorm yesterday allowed the hoards to sneak in under the radar - today was glorious, but were about 75 scooters below Arhi/Ghost Kitchen/Katarina - lots of pale skin and excited people - but they will all be going home soon!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sampling Sicily

 Two weeks in Sicily meeting a bunch of 'the Grumpies' from Sheffield seemed like a fair idea. We found we could fly cheaply from Girona, an easy three hours from Chez Arran, and there was a spare cabin available on the San Vito camp-site so it was all systems go. Car Rentals UK sorted us a complimentary vehicle with their usual efficiency and the 1st afternoon we ticked 5 easy routes.
In the event it was a great trip, there are around 450 routes within walking distance of the camp-site, the setting is lovely in a really wild corner of Sicily. The place was busier than we were expecting - having imagined it might have been completely deserted in late Feb/early March. The weather was a teeny bit unsettled, though we only actually lost one day through rain. Generally temperatures were fine, the crags dry quickly, access takes minutes from the accommodation, and as the cliffs face west, afternoons climbing were pure pleasure

From the road the cliffs look a bit scrappy, but the climbing was excellent almost without exception, the routes of all grades tend to be steep and the bolting is encouraging. Many of the pitches are very long and a bit on the sharp side - the norm for Med limestone I guess.

In summary - a great spot that deserves to become popular, the combination of sea-side setting, the great climbing, the easy accommodation and superb accessibility sure take some beating. There are 'only' around 600 routes in the area at the  moment - compared to Kalymnos's 1700 - but that is a great starter.
Top marks to Jim and Scott Titt plus all the other equippers have done us a great service.

NOTE: we discovered that a few of the glued-in bolt runners and a few of the 'pig's tail' lower-offs had a bit of rotational movement (1-2mm) in them - slightly worrying when this are single point anchors. I e-mail Jim about this, they are aware of the issue and have a fix, though interestingly they tried to remove one of the 'loose' lower-offs and failed despite exerting an outward force of 6000kg on it - so it sounds like they are actually fine!

Dreaming of the HubenDolomites

High above Canazie Canazie and Marmolata The ten days in Austria were great despite a breakdown in the weather towards the end of ...