Guided Adventure in the Verdon Gorge


Posted on 2013-11-15 - filed under news


Joshua Tree,  I love this place. Everything is sandbag and humbling but also so satisfying and memorable - like they say 'no pain no gain' as in this obscure little 1980 testpiece 'Waltzing Worm' from those 2 badass legends Tony Yaniro and Randy Leavitt. Graded 5.12a (ha ha) the grade is almost meaningless -

Might as well just say Nails!!


Posted on 2013-11-12 - filed under news


Back in the desert paradise that is Joshua Tree. It's one of my favourite trad climbing destinations and this free standing needle is pretty impressive for its modest grade of 5.6X!


Posted on 2013-09-19 - filed under news

Here's a wonderful and inspirational short film about the veteran mountaineer Fred Becky, 90 years old, climbing in the Dolomites and still looking forward to new objectives. 

Carpe Diem!

Ceuze 'Femme Blanche' 8a+

Posted on 2013-09-04 - filed under news

Photo: Ross Hunt on 'Femme Noir' with 'Femme Blanche' to the left
Ross Hunt on 'Femme Noir' with 'Femme Blanche' to the left

The summer is finally calming down here in the Verdon and the temperatures are gradually becoming a little more supportable for climbing - Phew!!!

During July/August I often try to escape the heat with regular visits to cooler destinations at higher altitude. Ceuze which is close by and where I can meet friends old and new from around the world or if the weather is stable the Swiss Bernese Oberland are 2 of my favourite places to climb in the European summer.

This year a visit to the Swiss Wendenstock was not that successful due to violent storms and had me fleeing with my old friend 'Zippy' back to France and Ceuze where I re-immersed myself in an unfinished project from last year, the legendary and 'run-out' Patrick Edlinger 8a+ "La Femme Blanche".

I walked away from this route last year after a long fall resulted in a badly sprained wrist but now I was very motivated to return and complete a redpoint ascent.

Climbing this route has been a long job but one that has continued to teach me things about my own climbing. Many times I was discouraged and thought I would yet again have to wait until next year. On reflection, calm determination, and analysing fine details of balance and pacing were key.

In particular, attention to detail on the crux and slowing down enough to take that crucial right hand mono carefully while only a split second later flagging the right foot to correct a 'barn door'. Expanding my comfort zone on longer falls, not losing sight of the objective and accepting to walk away and rest when it was not going well, as well as beating my body into shape from the 1 hour walks up and down to the crag were also part of the process of preparation for future and hopefully more difficult challenges.

However I feel the biggest lesson was probably on wednesday evening when in virtual darkness I finally sent the route. It had been so hot and this was a last ditch attempt at 8.15 pm when conditions only just became cool enough. It was so dark I almost didn't bother to try.

The following anecdote now seems particularly apt:

'Chances multiply if you grab them'!