Dec 5, 2017

Going light - Plan your climb

Going light on a climb vastly increases the enjoyment factor and usually results in faster and more successful climbs

There is a pack somewhere behind all this...crap!!
  Very often I see parties heading off into the mountains with their huge back packs, carrying way too much gear. A good rule of thumb is if you think you need something, you much likely don’t. If you know you need something, you much likely will. 
If you bring all that just in case equipment and in your head gear up for a night out. Well, it's already then almost already set up for that. 
Because you will be to heavy to start with.

The first and best way is just to keep the back pack small in liters. 
Your light 18l pack will probably be way to small. But the thing is, it's a big chance it's the same situation with your 30l. 
It is easy to get the "good to have" mood and we humans tend to like stuff and widgets.
Since " I have the space for this" 
And maybe it's not a big deal, a pair of extra gloves and a few more bars with that rescue blanket and some spare...well soon your in the trap and then a duvet goes in there as well. We like to collect things! 

Just leading with or without a pack makes difference. Every small gram just weights and every small gram adds to a bigger heavier kilo in the end. Therefore, the small pack is a good start. 

And to get there a good practice is to always think minimalistic. On every trip and every day out, skiing, hiking or climbing. Keep it small. think of it as a separate sport to always get along with the lightest pack and fewest pieces of equipment. Without taking steps that start making it dangerous!

Basic equipment

A single 8.9 or 9mm 50 or 60 meter rope makes a good base. I also keep a 6mm static tag line if the route is reversed via rappel or if I would need to haul my bag. I have found 60 meter ropes are rarely worth the extra weight. If the climb is easy I just use one single twin rope, with the option to use it as a double if needed...
the perfect minimalistic alpine back pack, Dragonfly 18
  A small pack, meaning; the smallest pack I can get that I wear while leading. I have found the Blue Ice Mono bag or the Dragon fly 18 as a super sound bag and aperfect partner for this purpose.
Depending on season and type of climb I of course bring different thinks. But the base is mostly the same, a warm jacket as a Crux Turbo Top or/and a windbreaker. 

  Together with 0.5-1.5l water bottle or a thermos.  For food fruit or nuts. I hardly ever bring modern Bars since they often are low on energy, demand a lot of water to be efficient and tend to freeze up during winer ascents. As well as expensive! And I'm just tired of finding the waste paper that people tend to "loose" once it's eaten!
I also make sure that I hydrate before the climb. Which means that for shorter climbs I can just leave the hydration pack behind.
Not so much fun really, but sometimes you just need to lead of in that bigger pack!
Minimalistic thinking, helmet and food
No real food since I rarely eat while climbing. If you are the sting kind, better then to make sure to get a really substantial breakfast. More sense carry most food and water in your stomach rather than on your back.

Shoes, boots and clothes

If I need to take my approach shoes on the climb I wear my Five Ten Tennies or even Five Fingers. In the former I can even climb up to a quite high grade. On a more moderate route. I then don’t even need any other shoes.

I prefer a lightweight weather resistant pullover that stuffs in it’s own pocket and easy to rack. 
And hardly ever brings a full on shell jacket on day tours. But a hood on the jacket is always nice. 
the Crux Turbo Top

Light cams like BD Ultralight Cams and light wires together makes a huge difference. But even more if you actually plan and schedule how many and what sizes that is useful. 
Keeping the amount of pro to a minimum. Specially if the rack includes bigger cams like #4 or #5´s

I use light spectra sewn alpine draws but always bringing several untied slings that I can use for replacing old slings and wrapping around chockstones etc.

Here is a source to save a lot of weight. Only using modern lightweight biners as Camp Nano or DMM saves a lot of weight.
Just make sure that they still stay easy to clip into your lead rope. Specially if I climb with gloves the type of gate, opening and how wide it is, might change the whole experience. I bring only a couple of lightweight locking biner's, mostly D and 1 or 2 HMS. 


Here is an other one. Obviously I use different harnesses depending on season and goal. My alpine skiing harness demands a bit less than my sport cragging one. 
But it makes no sense to bring my super comfy harness for a relatively easy ice route. And fact is, many of the modern lightweight boudriers are just as nice to hang in as an older regular one. 

Light is right, right? Sure still might be...but better is - Just think positive!

Nov 19, 2017

Natilik - Céüse

Céüse, in the Haute-Alpes of France, is said to be one of the best places for sport-climbing in Europe. On solid limestone with long demanding routes. Suited close to Gap and on an altitude of 2016mts, its location makes it possible to climb most of the month of the year. But at least for a Scandinavian it will be to warm in the summertime. The nearby drop zone in Tallard is one of the most weather safe places in Europe to go for skydiving. Its some 10min drive from the main crag and the village of Les Roses
Massif de Céüse 
The area is best known for its sustained sport routes in the higher grades, Some of the hardest routes in Europe is developed here. And with the chances of getting long interesting falls cause of the distanced length between the bolts.
Something I didn't find to bad on the lower graded routes. But as soon as we started on 7a/7a+ and higher, that became a true fact indeed!
Evening cragging at Céüse 

With the sunset followed by the BQ

What is a little less known in the area, at least for me, was that it aslo has a few multi pitch routes. And a couple of them which I would say is great classic´s and something you should´t miss out on a visit here.
One of them is "Natilik"
Voie Natilik - Céüse

Natilik - a Forgotten Trad Climb?!

The start of Natilik 
This 5 pitch trad route is equipped with a few pitons and bolts and all anchors in. But to protected properly you would like to bring a small set of wires and cams up to #4
It is a stunning climb on the highest point of the rock face, far out on the north side, right side facing the cliff.  It works it ways trough the giant roofs giving every single pitch its own character; off-width, chimney, face and stuff you might never explored before!
Summiting up on the high plateau of the ski area of Station de Céüse
First climbed in 1981 it still is a very interesting route with a lot of fun. Never super hard, just airy and might even feel a bit scary. I have seen it graded with everything between 5c to 6b+, guess it just depends on if you are used to placing own gear or not. And have been climbing big cracks.
The crux is getting of the roof ledge up over the roof part, but it is well protected with a #2 camalot.

The Route

To find the start. Hike up towards the rock face but stay low to start with, easier to take the lower trails. And head out north until you finally reach a fence "no passing - interdict" Allow 1.15h for the approach.
Just pass the fence, ignoring the first bolted routes just before the fence. You will see a BIG crack system heading up slightly leftwards blocked by a big "horn". It might also be a cairn at the bottom.
Anna on the second pitch of Natilik 
1st pitch follow the crack / off- width up to the big block, which is passed on the left side, a lot of air, up to a bolted belay. 20mts / 5c

2nd pitch. Continue up the crack which turned into a sort of chimney to the next bolted belay. 20mts / 6a

3rd pitch. Head up the wall passing a small roof, bolt, and then make a airy traverse leftwards. Says "poor protected" but it is possible to get in a few cams on the way. Just remember to place pro for the second 😅 25mts / 6a+                                                                                      
Traversing out on the 3rd pitch
4th. The Roof!! An unforgettable pitch 20-                 25mts / 6a+
5th. Follow great formations, cannelure´s to the top. 30mts / 5b

All pitches are maximum 30meters
Unforgettable Roof Pitch!
For the descent
Follow trails north and around back to the base. Or, if low season, its possible to walk south and take the via- ferrata down. Just walk down to the sign. This is much quicker but will catch a lot of input if its people coming up...
It is also possible to make a rappel on the route to the left, but then you will need 2x50m rope

Exit out over the roof
For "Natilik"
50m rope, 5-6 QD´s (longer ones useful) a few mid size wires, cams from #0,5-4 (BD camalots)
All belays are bolted and it was re-bolted 2015
First ascent 1981 by Philippe Macle et Jean-Christophe Lafaille
Places to stay
Les Roses and Sigoyer
There is a camping close to where the trail starts up to the cliff. And aslo a few AirBnB´s

This is a tricky one. There is no shops in the close area, not even a bakery in low season!
The closest one is at Gap-Tallard.
From Sigoyer, take the D219 down to Gap-Tallard. At the roundabout there is an Intermarche visible towards Gap.
There you also find the Drop Zone area.
Yeah, summit!
Other places close by
The drive to Orpierre is only an hour away. Nice place if you want to change and have really short approaches for a change. It also has a lot of great climbing but also much more crowded!
Stay away during the mid terms holiday in november!!

External links
Link to Camp2Camp here
Link to Climbaway here

the falaise de Céüse seen from Sigoyer
// the house never wins when Mother Nature is the dealer

Nov 5, 2017

Tours d´Areu - la vie de Garcon - Vallée l´Arve

the Climbing on Tours d´Areu in le Vallée l´Arve - Chamonix, is one of the best spots to be found if you are looking for solid high quality limestone. Luckily the approach is far away from every true sport climber, calculate at least 2h of walking, which keeps this place out of reach from most of the lazy bolt clipping craggers!

the approach towards Ref. Doran
The approach is best done from Burzier up to refuge de Doran. Hopefully it is open, because they serve the most delicious blueberry cake that you can imagine!
The climbing it self is pretty obvious, the five towers are well announced above the refuge.

Just follow the trail leading up towards col de Forclaz, almost up to the base of the first tower and then join the track heading out north under the towers. Aloud an other hour for this depending on the weather conditions. It can be very warm during the summer months!
la vie de Garcon 6c
Well at the base there is a number of great escapes as long as you are happy with 6b and upwards. A new bolted classic is the "la Vie de Garcon" 6c. A five pitch route on the forth tower which goes like;

And since it is Haute Savoie grading there is no "charm offensive" for the tourists 😁
The good thing is that it now at least has new bolts (2013) and not to far appart either. Which makes this route a most challenging but perfectly safe day on a brilliant rockwall with the most beautiful surroundings, Massif du Mont Blanc.

Equipment la Vie de Garcon
Ouverte en 1989 par Petiole (Thierry Perillat) et Pascal Strappazon.
Rééquipée en 2013 par les mêmes.
Rope 2x50m
QD´s : 10-12

Rappel the route

Route description
Via Camp2Camp

Le bellevue

// Je vu le peurs...a perte au pire. Il efface me pas..