I was fortunate to climb with Sara and Geoff in the Dolomites this past September. This trip allowed me to experience the magic of these historical mountains in the eastern Alps.
Unfortunately, we timed our trip perfectly with some of the worst weather of the summer. Every day, tough decisions were made, but we made the best of it and managed to climb some rocks!
Our trip started with a three hour traffic jam on a Saturday morning driving over Brenner Pass from Innsbruck. In the future I will try to get an earlier or much later start. We were chomping at the bit, but by the time we found a crag in the late afternoon, we found it seeping from recent rains.
The next day we awoke to rain and we ended up making a long trip to a dry sport climbing cliff, where we got in a really good workout!
We enjoyed the first half of the Vinatzer route on the 3rd Sella Tower and everyone enjoyed the crux pitch up a finger crack and through a roof, even though it was a little bit moist.
Then I made the tough decision to go down, as the weather wasn’t improving, and I was worried about some technical scrambling on the descent in the rain. So we rappelled from there and found our way into the descent gulley.
Getting a bit discouraged with the weather we packed up and headed from Val Gardenia to Cortina. On the way I managed to get a 170 euro speeding ticket for going 11km over the speed limit while trying to pass a dump truck. I was getting passed by locals all the time as I get car sick when I drive fast on windy roads! Nice italian hospitality.
When we got to Falzerego Pass it was raining so we headed up the cable car to the top of Lagazuoi
The tourist book told us to take the cable car up and hike down the tunnels to avoid going against the crowds, but on this rainy day–it wouldn’t of been an issue to hike up the tunnels (which i would of preferred).
ahhh, the relief of getting outside, scoping climbs and ski lines : )
The next day we through our hands up in the air and headed to Venice to escape another day of rain and indecision.
We had a good day out at the Cinqui Torri after this and really enjoyed the route called the NW corner on the Torre Barancio.
I want to thank Sara for being so adventurous and strong and trusting me on this trip. I want to thank Geoff for his patience and care of Sara and ability to be supportive through bad weather and help with the details of guiding. I appreciate them both for all the amazing wine and fantastic food we devoured!
Maija, Ryan and I had a jam packed week of climbing this past August. We spent most of our days in the Bugaboos climbing Bugaboo (Kain route), Pigeon (West ridge), Crescent Towers (Lion’s way), Crescent Spire (McTech arete), and East Post Spire, all based out of the exotic Appleby campground (that I love!)
Near the end of our trip, we escaped some fresh snow, and went to the Rockies to climb exquisite quartzite at the Back of the Lake and on The Grand Sentinel.
I appreciate the folks at the American Alpine Club who believe in International Climbing Meets. I have now taken part in a few of these and they are such a great way to connect people from all over the world who love climbing in new magical venues. This past week I visited Estes Park, Colorado to join up with about twenty ladies who all love climbing.
The wonderful and generous host climbers were: Mary Ann, Chris, Tracy, Casey, Melissa, MG, Yasmeen and Kammie. These women were so talented and caring. They cooked, organized, chauffeured, translated, guided and made sure that almost no Iranian wish went unmet!
The host climbers brought some special male guests such as Jason, Chris and Arman to also help out.
The Iranian climbers were: Nadia, Mahsa, Shahnaz, Sheima, Farideh, Dena, Parastoo, Shirin, Fatemeh, Afsar, Parvin, Masoumeh and Farnoosh. These ladies were so motivated and determined to make the most of their trip to the USA.
(In a couple of the following photos their faces are blurred on purpose.)
On our first day up in Estes, we stopped along the way, at Jurassic Park. We managed to climb 2 routes, including the super classic, Edge of Time, before the Daily Thunderstorm arrived.
The next couple days saw us at Lumpy’s ridge. In the following areas: Left Book, the Bookmark and Hens and Chicks Crag. Where we learned to jam cracks from 5.7-5.9 and enjoyed some multi-pitch adventures.
Everyday we had to beat the thundershowers. They actually were quite enjoyable given the super hot temperatures we were experiencing, but tricky to climb in. I love the bellowing thunder. It was often quite threatening, but way more bark then bite.
On our last day in Estes, a few of us host climbers went climbing, while the others went shopping and did laundry. We went to the magestic Hallet Peak in RMNP.
This is an eight pitch route with lots of route-finding and short sections of run-outs between protection. Many fun edges to grab and endless small footholds.
Chris and I were a team, as Tracy and Casey climbed together. Tracy graciously let us go first as it was our first time on the mountain. We actually got to the base of the climb before it got light out (thanks to Tracy for the blind-boulder-hopping route-finding). So we waited a little bit and I started up when I could just turn out my head lamp ; )
I didn’t climb very fast as I spent a lot of time making sure we were on route and hunting for gear. We topped out around noon and found the east descent gully fairly easily.
Once again, we beat the thunderstorms. We all had really sore feet from heat and many days of climbing/hiking. The highly groomed trail was a treat at the end of the day.
I hope the Iranian women have a very enjoyable stay in the USA and feel safe travelling and returning home.
I really enjoyed meeting everyone, hosts and Iranians, as well as sampling Estes Park. I especially enjoyed the little bit of Iranian dance we got to witness one evening. Thank You.
I am grateful to Saule Zukauskaite, Arunas Kamandulis, and Gediminas Simutis for this fantastic opportunity to climb in Patagonia. Saule, Aras and Gedas proposed this trip to Mammut for the 150 year project and it was selected. Thanks to Mammut for choosing me to accompany this talented team of young climbers.
For more information on Aguja Guillaumet look here.
We started our march to the promised land on December 12th. We ended up camping in the valley at Piedra del Fraile after taking a load up to Piedra Negra. On December 13, we hiked from the valley at ~500m, changed up our loads at Piedra Negra (~1300m) and continued up to Paso Guillaumet where the rock climbing begins, a few pitches of quality rock climbing gets you to the aesthetic crux pitch.
We gratefully summited at 8:30pm after ascending a little over 2000m from the valley.
We rappelled the Guillot couloir into fading light.
We arrived back at our tents around 3 am. We spend the next day resting, recovering and sheltering ourselves from the heat and the sun. Climbers say they haven’t seen it be so hot here in previous seasons.
On December 14, we decided to head back up Aguja Guillaumet–to minimize our time on the not so frozen snow. Aras, Gedas and Saule did a great job of leading us up the approach on snow, keeping the momentum on the route and up to the Amy couloir.
Today we went for a 5 pitch rock climb. Bolts, around 5.10 or 6a. Very fun outing. A little bit windy– good training for us to get to know each other and get into thinking about alpine climbing.
So after a day of getting to know each other and some rescue review… we are off to the mountains. Tomorrow we will hike into Piedre Negra and hope to climb Guillomet and Aguja Pollone in the next couple days….
By breaking up some classic crack climbs into shorter pitches, we can learn a ton, in a very short time, about transitions on multi-pitch climbs. We had great weather and a super fun time learning these skills late in the summer in Squamish.
Challenge and Fun were the two main sentiments from the weekend. Everyone (including me ; ) ) got their butt handed to them by some challenging, but exquisite granite crack. The women of the All Sizes Crack Climbing weekend did not get off easy, but lots of learning was had in a fun and supportive environment.
We learned how to jam fingers, hands, cups, fists, off-widths and chimneys. The Smoke Bluffs and the Chief had many cracks for us to get schooled on.
Our egos and bodies got bruised, but our muscles and awareness got toned and tuned into what it takes to get up these ‘holdless’ cracks.
Thanks to the participants for their determination and great attitudes and to the guides for their skill and expertise. Looking forward to many more days of kung fu fighting with talented aspiring crack specialists!
Thanks to Blurr for the hats, headbands and t-shirts that made us look SO good AND to LaSportiva for the t-shirts, stickers and SHOES that made us climb like lizards.
Welcome to my new website for advertising guided trips. Soon many cool adventures will be available for the 2009 summer season… stay tuned!