Thursday, 26 April 2012

Master Blaster

Colin drove down from Darlington (via London) and a long one day haul from Le Harve to Ariege, so we have spent a few days getting him relaxed - and me knackered.
It is a while since I have climbed five days on the trot but it has been great, decent weather, and as ever; no-one around. We have alternated granite and limestone, and done about half a dozen routes each day - all very pleasant!
He is away over the hills to Spain tomorrow which will give me the chance to crack on with book (and have a lie-in) and anyway he will be back in a week for some more action.
The RockFax/UKC team are here in a couple of weeks, and will doubtless need pointers as to where to climb and what pics we need, and by then Peak Limestone should have been published - hopefully they will bring a copy down so I can get a look at it.
Then there is the Blanca rewrite which keeps nagging/nudging me - busy times.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Topsy Turvy

Left: Exporing upper Auzat - worth it for the views alone

When we arrived in Ariege, way back in February there were heaps of snow everywhere and a feeling that winter had only just cracked. March was hot, settled and dry, the south-facing cliffs were almost too hot; summer was on the way - or so we thought.
April has been a step backwards, cool and shower, with loads more fresh snow on the hills, almost down to the village on occasions.
Despite that it has been pleasure being in the mountains, everywhere is superbly quiet and work on the book has progressed steadily in the right direction. The Costa Blanca volume has sold out now so there is some urgency to get that out before the Autumn season begins - looks like a bit of application is required!

Right: Snowtime

Graham Lynch called round yesterday, we stopped with him and Christine on our 1st few visits to the area. I complemented him on his little guide to Niaux Limestone, which has been well received by the locals. It was nice to see some refreshing innovation in the design/layout and even a thanks in the credits. I wasn't aware that 20 months ago he pull a flake off when checking Baychon, the tumble resulted in a snapped femur and shattered elbow - ouch. He is on the road to recovery - but I need to be careful out there, it is a dangerous game this guidebook writing!
Colin arrives Sunday, doubtless he will be distracting me and dragging me up some big rock around here - can't wait!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

No really!

Peak Limestone is away - two years and six weeks from start to finish - phew! Onwards and upwards, we checked out a crag near Ax Les Thermes yesterday, nice enough but a bugger to photo because of the trees. The roads were really busy, with it being Easter weekend, but there was no-one else up there.
I decided to go an have a poke around the bouldering at Orlu. I am no fan of bouldering (aka "playing on small rocks") but it was a magical spot, and I did a dozen (easy) problems - and enjoyed it - no, really.
A team of young Spanish lads were a short distance behind us on the circuit, I guess they were enjoying themselves - but do they need to be so bloody noisy?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Weekend Warriors

Five weeks in and Easter is just around the corner. The trees are starting to flush green and the snow is in retreat, though the High Pyrenees are still plastered.
Chez Arran is going to be full next week, which will be different, we have pretty much had the place to ourselves since we arrived.
Of late I have been distracted by all the late bits and pieces of Peak Limestone but that goes to the printers next week (looking great) so I can get back on task!
We took a walk up a hill behind the village, as we figured the crags might be busying up with it being the week-end. It didn't look too far - but looks can be deceptive - knackered!

September Snows

View-point at 10,945'  We left the UK towards the end of August and the first 10 days were as expected, with everywhere being hot an...