Tag Archives: Rock Climbing

Fantastic Multi-Sport Corsican Ski Safari during lockdown

Ski Safaris are always a super exciting time for me. Before leaving, I would have spent days researching and planning the trip. Most often, we’re heading to an area I’ve never been to before, so I’m as amped as my clients to discover new horizons. The forecast was calling for heavy snows in the Alps, and variable weather in the Mediterranean. So we thought we’d take our chance and head south!

This trip to Corsica in the middle of the pandemie was even more tantalizing! We knew we could travel to Corsica after getting a PCR test. There were no quarantine restrictions going to or returning back home to Switzerland. Whether or not we would actually be allowed to waltz right back in across the border in a week’s time, left me with a tiny morsel of curiosity.

Nearing Corsica!

Arriving at L’Île-Rousse on the ferry from Livorno, Simone and I were gripping the Ferry handrails, craning our necks to study the wind force and direction. We planned to start the trip with a little afternoon kite surfing since we had just the half day. Simone had brought his foil board, which turned out to be a bonus. The winds were light in the little bay of Algajola, a 20 minute drive from L’Île-Rousse. He had a good full-on session, while I flailed with my North 12m kite as it slowly deflated with a faulty airport valve. I’ll be getting on a foil next so I can ride with him in lighter winds!!!

Simone on his foil, enjoying the light winds of Algajola.

We drove south to Corte to base ourselves in the Restonica valley for some ski touring. The valley was insanely beautiful to us, coming from the Alps. The road weaves and winds its way up the valley, way, way above the steep river below. Cows were leaving a country style mess on the road . It was a challenge to not drive off the cliffs as I drove, wanting to see all the sights. We skinned right from the the van, up through sparse woods, then put on ski crampons to get over the frozen spring snow to Lac de Melo below the Breche de Gloria. Above, the sun started heating the snow, making the last climb to the Breche very agreeable indeed. Standing on the main east-west ridge dividing Haute Corse felt inspiring. The ski down on mature spring snow was a blast! It’d gotten warm in the Alps earlier, but there was nothing like flying down these vast couloirs, skiing mature spring snow on all aspects. This snow had been sitting there since October so it was super nice to get on such fine corn snow.

Over the next 7 days, we meandered up and down the valleys of Haute Corse near Corte and discovered the wonderful granite, climbing, e-biking and kiting on the beaches near Calvi. We used the e-bikes on our last day to approach Monte Cinto, the highest peak on the island.

Ski Safari, gotta do it!

Rock Climbing near Verbier and Chamonix

Summer is over and I have not published a thing! Too much time to do too many things!

The weather is back to summer-time temps, reflecting again the in and out weather in the Alps this season. Most recently, we did a couple of real fine climbs on perfect granite. One, up the Val d’Arpette, which many of you know from winter ski season. The other on the Pointe Lachenal above the Chamonix valley.

Olivier Roduit’s route on the Six Carro in the Val d’Arpette is one of the nicest climbs anywhere! The rock is stunning, with all sorts of cool forms, from cracks to knobs. The Contamine Route on the Pointe Lachanel is another supreme route, offering the aspiring, clean, crack climber the opportunity to protect his lead with the sole use of rocks and friends.

The calm before the storm

Swiss Meteo wrote that yesterday was the calm before the storm. So we headed over the ridge to Italy, Aosta, to climb a 13 pitch! rock route. What a gas it was to touch this fine granit so close to the road. We climbed “Mitico Vento”, 6b, 500m above the Val d’Aoste.

The forecast is for winter to move in fast. Sunday may see temperatures dip to -11 here in Verbier! Yikes! It is snowing lightly now in Verbier, with 30cm forecasted over the next 24 hours. Storm force winds from the NW will be blowing for the next few days. Looks like the ice may come into shape real soon.

I will be offering clinics for aspiring ice climbers during the next 3 weeks. Give me a call or email if you are interested in joing one of these groups.

Indian Summer Rock Climbing

The rock is hot during this fine Indian Summer. Funny how the weather was so unsettled preceding this Autumnal equinox. Although we have had a few dustings of snow in the high mountains. But pure rock routes at medium elevations are now revealing their intense allure.

A few photos of the rock climbing at this fine crag above the Rhone Valley, show the intense fall colors in these mountains.