Wednesday, 30 September 2015

New Beginnings - Briançon

Day One, Crag One, Route One
 A steady journey via the Hull to Zeebrugge ferry and a 10 hour drove and we rolled into Briançon - a place I have never visited.
My 65th birthday passed on the way south - must admit that was one milestone I wasn't looking forward to - but onwards and upwards I guess. As the saying goes 'getting old is no fun but it is better than the alternative"!
We have rented a ski apartment for three weeks and first signs are very encouraging, the weather has been good, the place is quiet and I managed 25 routes in the first three days on five separate cliffs - all new to me which was great.
The Col de Galibier - 8200'
The city is said to be the highest in Europe at just over 4000' and it is ringed by some amazing fortifications - we have made a start on exploring this intriguing area.
The weather varies between absolutely glorious and a bit on the cool side - record low so far 0C - not sure if this is the norm for here, time will tell!
One week on and we have had a complete mixed bag of weather from hot to cold, rain to snow, thunderstorms and wind - not much chance of getting bored with it. The route tally is now up to 40 and I have lost track of the number of different rock types I have climbed on - variety is the spice of life.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Getting Over That Hill

Plateau de Beille

The month in Scandinavia was brilliant and the 12 days back Ariège have been very pleasant, it is effortless slotting back into the easy-going groove here. We are still managing to find new areas to explore, and as ever the place is pretty much deserted.
 But time presses on, it is September already and we need to think about plans for the winter.
Climbing near the Spanish border
Initially we are headed back to the UK on Tuesday for just a week - time to visit dentists, opticians, parents and attend the OWPG's  annual bash up in Northumberland. Then we will be loading up the car and heading south for the Briançon/Orpierre area for about six weeks. These are two areas which are well regarded but about which I know very little. I am looking forward to getting a few solid weeks on the rock and getting fit. Beyond that nothing is fixed but we may manage a slider to Kalymnos once all the crowds have gone. By mid-December we should be back in the Ariège so I can start work on the new Lofoten guide which hopefully is due out sometime next year
Two weeks ago was the 50th Anniversary of my first ever climbing trip (Scugdale - North York Moors) and the night we sail from Hull to Zeebrugge is my 65th Birthday - where did all that time all go?
A Quick Update - I assumed we would have Tuesday to sort and pack the car ready for the off on Wednesday - but Sherri informed me that is my Birthday Present Day - Prestwold Hall where I will be driving a Porsche 911, an Aston Martin, a Ferrari and Lamborghini - not sure the Scoobie will ever seem the same again!

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...