So Im writing this long overdue post whilst back in Scotland, but Im pretty sure nobody was on tenterhooks for the next installment, so my challenge is just to remember what went on!
So a long time ago, in a european country far, far away….I had made an arrangement to meet up with the very psyched Greg, formerly of Edinburgh, now a resident and climber of New Zealand rock and ice. He hitched his way down from Strasbourg and I picked him up in a town just down the valley from Mello. Continue reading “A Second Taste of Mello”
So finally I made it down to Casa Davide, where I enjoyed the hospitality of pretty much his entire extended family over the course of a few days. Pleasure to meet you all, and thanks for putting up with me! And donkeys, Davide loves donkeys. He got his reports finished and the overseas trip was put back while paperwork was organised, so he had time to play! Continue reading “Not all Limestone is Limestone, thankfully (Dolomites PtII)”
So just before departing for the Dolomites, I got the news that Davide, my old friend from Scotland and local of the Dolomites, had been landed with some short-notice work overseas. He would have to leave soon, and be very busy finishing up reports-due before departure (he’s a geologist). Maybe he would have time for a day’s climb, but perhaps not. So again I was adrift awhile in a huge expanse of unknown rock. Time to solo some classics, I guess! Continue reading “Dolomite Wanderings (pt I)”
So by a fortunate coincedence, I happened to be crossing paths with Ed, climbing partner of old from Scotland. He on his route home from Croatia/Dolomites in his very shiny new VW conversion, and me still working my way eastwards. So I drove over the pass from Briancon to Valle Susa and across the hot piedmont, and to the granite paradise of Val di Mello. Continue reading “A Mellow Introduction to Mello”
So whilst all the rock around Ailefroide is granite, and Im on the road next to Val di Mello, also granite, I cant forget that Im going to be trying some pretty hard routes in the Dolomites, and so I cant ignore limestone forever. I have a very love-hate relationship with this rock. When its good, its very very good, but when its bad its plain awful. Continue reading “A Rendezsvous with Limestone”
So by some hefty slab of irony, I found myself in the most densely climber-populated area of my trip so far, and yet without a partner. Ailefroide is a busy, commericalised climbing area in the Ecrins, with most of the visible valley floor taken by a huge campsite. It has the scale of a festival, but without any music. Continue reading “The Loneliness (or not) of the Long-Distance Soloist”
Im down in the flatlands, having bade farewell to the Pyrenees. The long hot drive over to the Ecrins, and again avoiding the peage tolls wherever possible.
I had met up with Emily in Seu d’Urgell and driven through Andora, which is a weird place. More petrol stations than I had seen in such a small place anywhere in the world. Cheap fuel though! We passed over the Pas de la Casa and dropped down into the french Ariege, Ax-les-Thermes and Orlu, home of the iconic Dent D’Orlu – the Tooth of the Wolf Continue reading “My, What a Big Tooth you have!”