Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Europe 2011

Europe was great as always and I achieved my major sport climbing goal of the trip with a quick ascent of L'ami de toute le monde (8b/31) at Ceuse. The highlight of the trip was definitely Lawrence and Marikas wedding in Poland. It seemed less of a specific event that we would have in Oz and more of a multiday ongoing celebration where everyone was up all night consuming huge amounts of vodka and food before sleeping a few hours in the middle of the day and starting all over again in the evening. During the four blurred days i was in Poland i even managed to get out climbing with Lawrence (on the morning of his wedding) at a small limestone cliff underneath the monastery where the ceremony was to take place. All the routes here seemed short and powerful and hard, probably due to lack of sleep, but i still managed a nice 7c i never got the name off. It seems most Polish words don't actually need many vowels and i noticed street names that where 12 or 15 characters long!
After Poland the plan was for Rob and I to head to the Matterhorn but the forecast showed thunderstorms all week. Emil and Mel who we had met up with in Ceuse where down in the Verdon Gorge in southern France so we drove there after flying Krakow to Milan instead. It was super hot in the gorge but the crags in the shade where still climbable. It seems strange to go to the Verdon and do single pitch sport climbs when the multipitch climbing is so good but due to the temps we had no choice and the single pitch stuff there is actually really good anyway. I found the grading slightly harder than Ceuse although it may have just been the style as i was trying more tufa based routes whereas Ceuse had more pockets. The Verdon has a ridiculous amount of rock and the week we spent here running around the gorge crossing tyroleans and climbing anything in the shade barely scratched the surface of whats here.

Emil on a tufa packed 7c/27 in the Verdon.

Another 6-7 hour drive and i was back in Milan to drop Rob off for his flight back home. I was meant to keep on driving up to the Marmolada to try a route i have always been psyched to try called 'Le Poisson' or 'The Fish' on the south face of the Marmolada which goes at grade 26 and is meant to be super run out and scary but Lawrence had a job offer he couldn't refuse and had to bail so i ended up heading to Grenoble to meet up with another friend Scott Boladeras. We climbed on the local crags around Grenoble with climbs which i thought were very solidly graded. Grenoble is an amazing place to live if you want a large amount of local areas to climb only 5-15 minutes from your house.
I ended up with two days left at the end of the trip, since Scott had left to go climbing in Canada, that i wasnt sure what to do with. After having to really fight on the Grenoble grade 26's to get them second go i had doubts on how i was climbing so i thought id just head back to Ceuse to hang out with the British crew that where there and just take it easy. To my surprise i wasnt actually climbing that bad and managed a soft 8a+/30 on my second go. That made the next big drive back to Milan alot more bearable and ended a great trip even though i didnt make it into the alpine.

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