Jan 27, 2019

Les Fils de l’haltère et du Pan - Verdon

Verdon, in the Alpes de haute provance, is one of the most mythic and respectful places to do long sport climbs in France.Beautiful suited in the area of Alpes cote d´azur, this national parc is a most to visit for any climber. Or for anyone that just like respectful and impressive nature. One of those places that makes one to think, if not before even more, but of how lucky we are to be on this planet and all things we should try to do to save it.

Driving in to la Palud sur Verdon
To try to recommend any routes here is both easy and difficult, there are a number of classics, of course, but during the week we climbed here I can't say any of there routes made me disappointed!
There is one thing though to consider, the engaging part in the climbing is not to be underestimated, since many times the distance between the bolts can be somewhat spread out. But as the legendary Patric Edlinger once said, "we should have places the bolts closer, if we just had more bolts..."
And on the good side, its not ncececcery to bring many quick draws, so the rack gets lighter!
If there is to be one big backside here it could be that the approaches are a bit to short and easy. Often its made by just taking a few meters from the road and then just rappelling down the route, and climb back up. So its comfortable to be a bit rounder, with the good french restaurants and food with all the good cheese. So you better take care!

Just to give an idea I have listed a couple of routes that is a good introduction to the area and maybe a few "must do" routes.
The top 1 would then be the classic "ULA", put up in 1972 by B Bouscasse and M Coquillat.
It´s a super preforming system of cracks of different sizes over 10 pitches, with a grade up to 6b. But look up, its Verdon 6b, old school. 
Anna on ULA, Verdon
The approach is made by rappelling les dalles grises, which is easiest and most obvious. Or by foot from the parking at pont sublime and sentier Martel. Bring a head torch!
Once fully equipped with bolts it was re-done in 2011, with only the belay bolts left in place. So now its a traditional climb again. But, a route that can be a long line of climbers in high season. So chose the time for this. It can be slow!!
Classic gouttes d´eau

For a newer but outstanding multi-pitch sport climb the "Les Fils de l’haltère et du Pan" at the sector of Malines is one of the most enjoyable limestone routes I have climbed.
A route that also involves a little of spectacular approach as well, down climbing to the very bottom of the gorge.
The FA was done in 2011, maybe they moved the bolts from ULA to here 😎😏, by Pascal Faudou.
It starts with a steep section of 6a crack, followed by a numberous amount of high quality pitches. The FA´s has really put in a good piece of work to find the best line here.

Access the route from the Belvedere parking, a little de-escalation, the route is a bit expo.
The trail starts at a cairn at the W end of the bend (red dot marking). Follow the path, which is well marked by cairns and marking. Switch backs and down a couloir to slip into a ledge / fault that joins a ridge on the left side. Go down and up in front of another couloir to join some stairs / metal bars. Descend by following the metal bars, et voila!

The climb
It starts a bit right ot the "lame Fatale", in the middle of a bunch of trees. A little physique start up a steep wall, but very good protected, thanks Pascal!
Next pitch goes up and then out rightwards, over some gouttes d´eau, to a belay at a couple of trees.
Pitch three is the hardest which first builds up some nice confidence but then strikes back with a bunch of fingery moves on steep rock. A full on and long pitch.
This one together with pitch four is just a beauty for a climber, all on solid high friction rock.
Pitches 5 to 7 is all classic limestone climbing.
Pitch 8, has it all, crack, diedre, roof and lunules...
Pitch nine, starts with a bit physique small roof, and the steep wall to the top belay.

The retour is made via a small path back to the road just above.

Equipment for Verdon
2x50m ropes, a lead rope and a tail-line makes the best service in my opinion
Anna on depart of Les Fils...
10-15 QD´s
A few mid size cams are sometimes useful to place between bolts
head torch, can be good if you need to walk out 

Time to go
Can be very warm in the summer but it is always possible to find walls in the shadow
April - June and September - December normally works fine.
Unfortunately a car is needed to get around and to get here to start with.

Places to stay
There is a really nice Gite de France in la Palud sur Verdon
Camping is also possible in the village of Palud, just check when they are open
For a number of choices, check out this link
In Saint Maire there are more hotels and Gites, but then it involves everyday of driving

An other high class route is A Tout Cœur - at secteur Dingo
Hauteur 150m/5 longueurs + 2 more to get back to the top, 6b+ Max
Things to do on a rest day, visit Saint Maire and the old church
Les Fils de l’haltère et du Pan
Beau et belle
BASE is an ok restudy activity as well

// Kolonn körning är rätt ok, så länge man är först

Jan 17, 2019

Plug and Play - Leonidio - Greece

 Greece, it has a couple of great things, the people and the oranges.
And, above that, all the great climbing spots!
If you want to go to a friendly and relaxed country, this is it! The hospitality of the Greece people is just stunning and you will have a chance to make life time friends everywhere, if you want.
Maybe one reason is the good weather and the great food. Because here you don't need to starve of walk back hungry from the restaurant. Not the best way to keep the sport climbing shape though, but you will climb happy!!

The Greek Cuisine, very tasty!
Of all the climbing destinations in Greece, Leonidio is not the most unknown for sure. But the area is huge and most of the time you can find good quiet spots and sectors. As long as you avoid the sector of Mars, specially on the week-ends.
And, if you chose to go on the multi pitch routes, you will most likely be way alone with your rope partner.

Once in Leonidio, there is really no need of a car if you just climb on the walls above the town/village. For the other sectors and areas as Kyparissi, it is needed though.
But, there is a bus from Athens to Leonidio, so check it out before. It might be the best choice.
Because renting a car in Greece may be cheap, but take care of which company you rent from. These guys can be very "un-Greeky"

After a few days of cragging up on 30-50m routes, singel pitch climbing, we quite soon got a bit freaked out and wanted some real climbing on a bigger multi pitch route.
The following day we headed for the classic, Aghios Lemmy, a Mötorhead honor route for mr Lemmy. And a really pleasant climb up solid rock over 8 pitches. Which you easily can link a couple of together.
The neighbor "Tanaïs" is a bit harder but also a super nice climb, not to be missed!
Plug and Play, hard to miss!
After these two warm up climbs we looked up a somewhat older route on the wall of Kokkinovrachos, Plug & Play. A 180m, 7 pitch route straight up in the middle of the big wall above town. Looked like a great day out. A good choice since its a pure south face and on this day with quite a few clouds, perfect!
A 30 minutes walk from the apartment took us to the base of the face. It is easy to find since there is signs! and the flag on the top makes a good sign post.
A real sport climber belay!!
The first 6b pitch is already this a very nice climb. And a bit more old style graded.

Pitch two, 7a+, goes over a vertical wall with nice and sharp holds always on good quality.
For the next pitches to follow it is the whole time on steep rock and very enjoyable climbing. Sue friction since not so many has climbed it, and a bit of distance between the bolts so it doesn't feel to much like a "holiday route"
As always on a longer route there is some parts whit lower quality and in this case the last pitch is more of a "just getting to the top" cause it has to be there. But, the views are just brilliant overlooking the whole area.

And with a bit of luck, you might see any of the locals around as well on the approach!

(An other route not to be missed on this sector is "Saïme" a 4 pitch route on very interesting climbing!)
One of the greatest meetings!
Leonidio - Kokkinovrachos
2x50m rope
13 QD´s
2-3 carabiners for the belays
Rappel the route

(in general for the area, a minimum of 70m rope is needed, many times a 100m rope makes the routes easier. In sectors like Jupiter the routes are up to 50 or even 60m, if you climb the extension
One really sad thing with Greece is all the rubbish that are thrown, everywhere!
So make sure to bring some bags and collect!
// Happy climbing

Dec 17, 2018

Grandes Suites - Annecy - L´Or du Temps

 Les Grandes Suites, above Lac d´Annecy, is a big cliff with a good number of nice high quality routes, between 5c-8a. the rock is always on solid gray limestone with good friction.
And because it is south facing it dries up very quick after rain. And also a good place to climb most of the year, even in the winter months.
In summer the lake makes it a nice combo of swimming and climbing. And around Verier-du-lac/Talloires you can find a couple of really nice restaurants. "Cafe de la Place" i Tailloires is super cool resto, not to be missed!

That together with the long enjoyable routes, the easy approach, some 20min once you found the right parking, makes it a cool place to spend a couple of days.
There is a couple of classics on Grandes Suites, which ones to be the best, well its hard to say but some favorits are "Harmonie" 6a/150m, "L´Or du temps" 6c+/220m and "Extase" 7a/180m.
Grandes Suites / L´Or du Temps and the "Gouttes d´eau"
L´Or du Temps was put up by - Daniel Chauchefoin &Vincent Sprungli in 1980. 
The bolts has been updated and are in good shape, with a nice distans between them.

"We took a 2 day trip to get a few last autumn climbing days in the Haute Savoie, enjoying a few days around Annecy with all the tourist long gone. Still ok temp for an evening swim in the lake and not to cold nights, since we planned to camp in the Ford.
In the middle of the week there is even less people so as always we could find the route for our self, just one early team a couple of pitches higher up.
Some of the pitches has the classic gouts d'eau, finger tip holes, which I find most enjoyable. And with a little bit of sun shining over the cliff the solid grey limestone is just tip top friction class. Until it starts to rain that is, which reminded us to never completely trust the meteo. Because 3 pitches up something started to fall that was very equal to rain, at least it was water and coming from above. Luckily Anna just started the traverse, and protected by the roofs above it didn't effect us to much, but it did the section "gazeux" even more interesting. But, the other team decided to rappel of so it left us alone on the rest of the route. And as often if you believe in luck, it stopped dripping.
The pitch after the traverse is a bit awkward, with a couple of quite hard 6a moves. And then the very last pitch is just an explosion of formations, super nice climbing up steep walls, tufas and holes.
Since we done the rappels a few times before the descent went quite quick back. And after an espresso down at Veyrier and a short swim the day was finished with a nice local dinner at "la Place. And the next day, off to do the Traverse of Dents de Lanfon, a classic mountain traverse above Bluffy"

Anna on the approach on the old path leading up to Grandes Suites
How to
Annecy >> Veyrier du Lac village. Pass the village and at the exit take the direction of col du Buffy.
Due to the construction of a protection dyke, the normal path is closed. There is an alternative access that starts from the same road, about 500 m further to N, to the left of route de la Corniche (GPS: 45 ° 53'43.7 "N 6 ° 11'04.1" E)
Walk up a path that runs along a stream between two houses up to a fence (green metal fence). Then continue on a slight path on the right. And join the old path at the height of a pin to the right (above a small scree + cairn)


L1, just climb any of the routes at the bottom of the cliff, a couple of single pitches. Or just head up Harmonie which start at the same place.
L2 5b 35 m In ascending on the left to gain the vire (cable) which runs all this sector.
In order to arrive under the first relay it is also possible to take one of the right lanes of the initiation area, but we must be very careful at the exit not to loosen pebbles ...
L3 6c +> 6a + / A0 35 m Pretty slab up to the bulge that goes well in A0 with a short strap (no 6a + forced out). This length has the same starting point as Harmonie, located immediately to the right of a big tree-stool (recall). Pull the overhang and leave Harmony on the right to continue straight (La vie d'artiste prends off on the left a little higher).
Relay at the top left on the big chain after a red spit.
L4 6a + 20 m Slab vertical well on drops of water that leaves a little on the left, before joining a small crack that brings you back under a beautiful roof.
L5 6a + 30 m Continue up the finger holes, avoiding the roof on the right, then cross above to the  right slab tand a chain relay.
L6 6a 20 m Almost horizontal traverse to the right between 2 overhangs, relay on a spit and a rusty piton.
L7 6a + 20 m Start rather athletic straight, then on the wire of a small pillar before finding a small terrace with a tree. Relay (spit + piton).
L8 6a 35 m From there, the wall goes down slightly, but the climbing is on compact slab, then system of cracks. Relay on tree.
L9 6a 12 m Short length (3 spits) in slab with holes spaced to gain the top of the ledge. Relay on tree.
L10 6a 20 m From the two lines take the one in the axis (the one on the right): spaced holes and grooves. Last belay in some trees.
The gazeux traverse on L6
Once on top, walk down to the left of the cliff (good path, blue marks in the trees), to a cairn. Then back to the right to find a fix wire. The first rappel is on a tree. The others are straight line down with god anchors. 4x50m rappels in total.

2x50m rope
12 QD´s
A good forecast!
Evening at lac d´Annecy