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Monthly Archives: August 2013

“Shit! How the hell am I still on these holds? My feet are literally on nothing! I can’t believe they expect me to use this sloper .. though it is sticking…”

My inner dialogue while climbing on granite for the first time in basically a year went a littttle bit like that… with even more expletives. Outwardly, I was climbing awkwardly. I was gripping down way too tight on some holds that looked terrible but had a bunch of friction.  I was nervous, placing and trusting my feet on small crystals or just smearing them on nothing; in other words, I suck at climbing on granite.

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Star Wall at Donner Summit… instagramed!

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Chris and I didn’t realize it at the time, but we coincidentally planned our France climbing trip in decreasing order of approach times. At Céüse we did the famous 45 min- 1 hr grueling uphill approach every day and then at the Ardeche our approach was flat and about 20-30 minutes long (once we figured out how to do it and didn’t have to employ kayakers to get our gear across the river), though it did involve easy traversing on cables for a small part of it. There were also scorpion sightings, humongous river otters and hoards of French tourists in mega-industrial “campsites”- it was pretty intense.   The approaches at the Gorges du Tarn were quite a bit different… on average they were about 2 minutes long. In fact, a lot of the best sectors are right off of the road which runs parallel to the beautiful (and cold!) Tarn river.  In fact, the whole setup was pretty similar to the Ardeche; in other words, a ridiculous number of limestone crags surround a river in a remarkably striking Gorge. However, the differences were only improvements- the rock quality is way better and there were much less tourists.

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Best sport climbing top out… ever?

Sensepell

digital crack

L’actual campió d’Europa Romain Desranges ens envia un video on apareix fent  “Digital crack”, el 8a més alt de França, 3800m d’alçada. Un video de Fred Ripert amb imatges gravades des d’un drone!

European Champion Romain Desgranges sending “Digital crack”, the highest 8a in France at 3800 m. A video from Fred Ripert recorded with a drone!

Le champion d’Europe chamoniard Romain Desgranges dans “Digital crack”, le 8a le plus haut de France au sommet de l’aiguille du midi à 3800m d’altitude. Une vidéo signée Fred Ripert avec des images inédites issues d’un drône !

 

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I like to practice yoga when I can because I find that it opens me up much better than traditional static stretching does (the effectiveness of which has come into question quite a bit recently in exercise science) and because, like climbing, it’s both a mental and physical exercise. I came across this free 1 hr yoga session posted on youtube and have to say it’s quite good!

As soon as school got out I ventured beyond Spain’s borders to see what its next door neighbor, France, had to offer in sport climbing. They say that sport climbing was born in France so I had high expectations, though was pretty skeptical; I just couldn’t imagine anything topping Spanish crags like Margalef , Rodellar or El Chorro. Our first stop was Céüse, a cliff band that is perched on top of a hill near the French Alps.

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