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