Friday, 4 May 2007

Climbing at Gaillands

This is a pretty old blog posting that gets a lot of hits off the searchy enginey things so thought I'd update it. Here's a link to all the recently: climbing I've done at Gaillands - including photos.

I've been getting into climbing quite a lot recently and the other day Mark the Chef, Chris and myself went down to Lac de Gaillands which has a large rock outcrop next to it. The lac is just outside Chamonix's eastern edge. It was fantastically hot and the climbing was pretty difficult but we got up all the pitches we tried (even one with a seriously gnarly overhang!) and it was really good fun.

The old arms ached a bit when I was climbing but that's just from the changeover from snowboarding to climbing - different muscles you see!

So we turned up to the wall and picked out a pitch that looked appropriately funky:

Then proceeded to limber up it like 3 happy monkies. Mark managed to grab a photo of me abseiling back down after getting up:

We even had a look around for something really funky and ended up climbing this pitch:

The photo's not taken from any weird angle (as shown by the tree growing vertically upwards in the top left). In fact the pitch had a bit of overhang and was technically quite difficult. It was definately the hardest pitch I've ever done, but really satisfying to get up to the top and look out and down over Chamonix and the valley.

All in all really good fun, there's loads of climbing here - it's one of the best places in the world to climb! I've currently got the Jones' for mountaineering and climbing books and it's really weird to read up about all these guys like Joe Simpson (Touching the Void), Chris Bonington and Joe Tasker writing extensively about mountains and walls that I see daily and accept as part of normal life. Andy and I were looking at doing a traverse of The Grandes Jorasses (it's one of the Great North Faces of the Alps) at some point. We need to do a load of practice climbs first but it's a decent goal to work towards.

So all in all, pretty nifty really and looking forward to some settled, sunny weather to be able to start getting up those rocks.

Grandes Jorasses