/ Best place in Europe for long, easy sport climbs?
I'm planning a trip in July and I'd love to do some easy (around grade 5) but long (100 meters +) sport climbs. Where are the best locations for Europe for this?
The other criteria would be how good the scenery is and the cost of the whole trip.
Any thoughts would be very welcome.
If you like slabs: great scenery, usually good weather in July. A decent number of 5s (maybe a bit harder than graded but you have 4s as well).
Anyone know how the dolomites or alps would compare?
I climbed in Gorges de la Jonte with my wife this year and I thought the grade V multipitch routes (limestone) were some of the best I had done. The scenery is lovely, the camping is nice, the village - Le Rozier - is lovely and the walking is fab too.
Not much sport climbing in the lower grades in the Dolomites. It's mostly "alpine trad" - lots of in-situ pegs & threads but still worth carrying some gear of your own to supplement.
Vallorcine has a few but maybe Ailefroide is the best gor that grade.
Ailefroide for fully bolted routes. Dolimites if you are comfortable mixing clipping pegs with placing nuts between fixed gear belay points. Plenty of single pitch sport at both for easier days.
Just to add to that...
Ailefroide routes, although long, don't seem to go anywhere. Generally you climb 10 pitches maybe 1/4 way up a mountain then ab off. In the Dollies you generally feel like you've got to the top of something!
Had some time in Ariege this summer and it was amazing! Found the climbing hard for the grade though.
Another vote for Grimsel pass and also nearby Susten pass (with laid back climbers campsite at Gadmen).
The "Schweiz Plaisir" series of guides covers "easy" (6b and below) cragging in Switzerland, single and multipitch. There are 3 or 4 selective regional guides plus an even more selective one to the whole of Switzerland. Not cheap but may be a worthwhile investment.
Aiguilles rouges above Chamonix has lots of routes in that category. Four to around 16 pitches. Mostly equipped for sport, some benefit from extra trad gear but this is clear in guidebook. Awesome views and wildlife. Bivvy or camp near cable cars if you wish ( put tent away during the day). Coach to Chamonix is cheap but long time, fly to Geneva or drive and share costs. There is likely to be snow around the base of some of the routes but in July, especially as the sun gets going, the snow softens and I would usually be happy in approach shoes. This varies from season to season and route to route.
Michel Piola guide, Aiguilles Rouges, is great. I find many of the routes a little 'soft'. Some routes require abs, many just a walk or scramble. Lots of routes to summits.
From Chamonix it is only a short drive to many lower valley sports crags ( like Vallorcine ) or a few hours to Swiss areas such as Miroir d'Argentine and the Grimsel Pass. I suggest following the good weather rather than locating in one spot.
Another vote for Handegg/Susten, loads of great routes, easy access, stunning setting:
that one is 10 pitches VS/HVS - (about F5)
For something shorter(150m long though) and different try Ueschenen in the Kandertal. Fantastic textured limestone and fully sport on most routes.
Can anyone recommend a selected guide to Switzerland that will cover a good few of these easier venues?
Yah, Swiss Plaisir South and West (both have also english texts).
Not really, camping on camp grounds was about the same as in IT or FR, this summer/fall. Grub might be a bit more spendy in shops or when eating out... but then again you can always stock on groceries from say IT.
in case you don't know bergsteigen.at, they have a very nice "search functionality". Check it here: http://www.bergsteigen.com/klettern/suche
My tip would be Rax-Alpen (aka Hollental) or Salzkammergut, plenty of multipitch in all grades. Free camping in Kaiserbrunn (google.maps).
The topo is on the site I provided above or for hollental PDF version is quite easy to find online.
Email me in case of any questions:)
Selective guide to Sports Climbing in central region of Europe (takes in bits of France, Italy and Switzerland) lots of multi-pitch, all routes 6c or below, has English text and good topos, published in 2012. Pricy at £37.50 but should inspire several visits.
Some photos here of Nufenen and Grimsel routes including Picadilly
I hadn't realised there were any easier routes there. Some of the starts in the more cut away section are obviously going to be anything but easy. Great situation and sense of history, nevertheless.
There is a little dew and rain now but that doesn't stop the rock drying quickly and the sea being warm but camping is off unless you have a car now I believe, the nearest site being 10 miles inland.
The walk in is worth it but 3 hours each way every day unless you're very fit, then 2 hours, as the routes are long and as good as they look. Calanque En Vau, the 3rd in from the East, is set to hold you for a fortnight.
Guidebook Escalade Les Calanques (Accurate and in French) going for 30% discount at £20 if you want it. jimb
You need then to read the local updates as footpaths get closed etc for conservation reasons. Access would be good by boat or kayak and more camping would be on, but only outside the park.
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