MountainTourists European Climbing Tour 2017: Highlights
Disclaimer: this is not a brochure or guide of the hardest or best climbing at each location, just our experiences from March to October 2017
March : United Kingdom
Too wet and rainy to climb anything vertical for the entire month.
Deciding not to climb on a wet quarry in the Peak District
Instead, we attempted the 'three peaks' challenge - to climb the highest peaks in Wales (Mt Snowden), England (Scafell Pike), and Ben Nevis (Scotland)
Summit Mt Snowden (1085m)
Ascending Scafell Pike (978m) into a sleet/snow shower on the summit
Snow in Scotland in March
We got as far North as Edinburgh before late snow and low miles on the rental car lease forced us to return to London without summiting Ben Nevis.
April : Iceland
Too cold and expensive (we could only afford carry on luggage) so we climbed some mountains instead.
Glymur waterfall (198m) - the second highest in Iceland
Bouldering on magma columns on the beach in gale force wind
Climbing Mt Esja - only 10km from Reykjavik
Summit of Mt Esja (914m)
April : Netherlands
Too flat, nothing (except sand dunes) to climb. So we cycled to Germany.
Not much climbing got done at Scheveningen Beach or in Zeeland
May : Germany — Reutlingen
A nervous introduction at a forested limestone cliff in the Schwabian Alps
June : Spain — Montserrat
Too hot (35-40 degrees) to climb anything and we had just trekked across the Pyrenees for 25 days - so we went to France…
July: France -Buis les Barrones
Numerous well maintained routes on a quality limestone fin in Provence.
Le Rocher (rock) Saint Julien
First and best via Ferratta we did in Europe.
Top of our first European multi-pitch
August : France — Chamonix
Queues and amazing glacier views on granite and gneiss multi-pitch routes above 2000m.
Les Bossons glacier view from multi-pitch belay station on the opposing Aiguilles Rouges massif (mountain range)
Pitch five Voie Frison-Roche
Some of the popular routes on Le Brevant were busy all morning so we climbed another route and then had this climb all to ourselves in the late afternoon - so late in fact we missed the lift and had to descend 1500m by foot
Rappel off the Argentiere Aiguille (needle)
After a two weeks our focus shifted to alpine climbing and so after purchasing/renting some extra equipment we headed to the glaciers.
Glacier travel on Le Tour to access and climb Aiguille du Tour (3540m) and Petite Fourche (3520m)
Summit of Aiguille du Tour
Queues at 6:30am for the first cable car up to Aiguille du Midi.
Philippa descends a ridge to the start of Cosmiques Arete
More queues at the crux (hard part) of Cosmiques Arete
Philippa on the summit ridge of Cosmiques (3842m). Mont Blanc (Europes tallest mountain) in the background
August : Switzerland- Goschenalp
Epic run out granite flakes and slabs along the knife edge Sugrat (south ridge) of Salbitschijen.
Salbitschijen (2981m) during an early morning approach - Sudgrat is the left hand ridge
On the ridge itself in low cloud
This was the most demanding climb we did in Europe, requiring commitment (we could not downclimb or abseil escape once we started), endurance (2 hrs approach; 8hrs climbing; 1.5hrs descent) and new techniques (we placed alot of our own gear).
It took two attempts as the weather closed in the first day and the cold forced most climbers (including us) to retreat.
Philippa crossing some flakes with drops of several hundred meters on either side
Full concentration and commitment leading up some granite slabs in low visibility
This was the descent after we reached the summit
August : Austria -Innusbruck
Easy, crowded and boring kletterstieg (via feratta).
After climbing in Switzerland this was literally a walk in the park
So casual and confident - not even clipped in
August : Austria — Gesause
Too much rain and our local guide had injured his hands from too much climbing — so we went to Croatia…
September : Croatia — Paklenica
Thunderstorms, floods and route finding in crumbly cracks topped with fluted krast blades.
The drawcard feature at Paklenica was Anica Kuk, a 400m high cliff face with nunerous multi-pitch routes.
Mosoraski : the signature climb on Anica Kuka - 350m of mixed water affected limestone
Philippa relaxing at the summit of Anica Kuk (712m) after completing a multi-pitch
October : Greece- Kalymos
Sunsets, swims and gyros in between dodging scooters and goats while climbing on well bolted, superb limestone, vacation routes.
Philippa leads up a ridge on ’Wings for life’ - a mult-pitch on Telendos Island
The process and results of climbing photography
Philippa climbing a huge flake at a crag called ‘The Beach’. The beach, unfortunately, was covered in trash
Deep water solo practice/posing for a good photo
The goats on Kalymos were numerous and some learned to wait while you were climbing, or attached to the rope belaying, before attempted to rummage your backpack for your lunch
This particular goat is wondering if Philippa is asleep enough to give it a go
Deep water solo as part of the Kalymos Climbing Festival
Rock wall exit to cold plunge. I really don’t like this part and don’t do to high due to my back surgery
October : Athens
Packing up and cleaning all the gear to send home before heading to Kashmir and Nepal for some trekking
Washing months of dirt out of the rope in the AirBnB shower