Not all Limestone is Limestone, thankfully (Dolomites PtII)

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)”

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Dolomite Wanderings (pt I)

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)”

A Rendezsvous with Limestone

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”

The Loneliness (or not) of the Long-Distance Soloist

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”

My, What a Big Tooth you have!

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!”

A break from the large – Cavallers

So, my original intention after the Picos was to go to Ordessa / Monte Perdido and keep on with the big limestone. And indeed Seb and I met possibly the most enthusiastic spanish climber ever, Viti, who was headed in that direction. But by that time I had a very friendly invite from Lee to visit Cavallers, an area I had not previously heard of, but seemed to have a reputation for very high quality granite. So I bade Seb farewell in Santander, and off I went to hone my rusty granite skills. Continue reading “A break from the large – Cavallers”

Scotland, warming up

The final prong of the preparation fork (weird metaphor, dunno where that came from) was just getting out and climbing big routes. I had a list. I didnt make it very far down that list, because again life intruded. Work, weather and family obligations combined in unfortunate ways. I did manage a few significant outings, though, which deserve mention. Continue reading “Scotland, warming up”