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Topic - Bouldering in Hampi, India

We spent just under a week in Hampi in January 2014. We would have really benefitted on more climbing info before we got there, hence this blog...

Firstly Hampi is amazing! It is a mystically beautiful landscape with boulders shrewn amongst paddy fields and temples. Climbers flock from far and wide but there are also lots of hippies, families and travellers there to enjoy the natural beauty and soak up the relaxed vibes. Getting there can be tricky as it is kind of on its own in the area Karnataka. We got a taxi from Goa (7 hours) but most get buses from Goa, Bangalore, Hubli, Gokarna. Booking trains in India is now really hard from the UK and when you get to India tickets are mostly sold out.

Hampi is in two areas separated by a river. Definitely stay in Hampi Island, it's much nicer as is mainly a farming area and is near the climbing. Hampi bazaar is where the main village is but recently much was bulldozed to protect the temples so there's not much left except shops and a few restaurants. It is worth visiting Hampi Bazaar to see the temples and there is some climbing amongst them which is awesome for cool climbing photo-opportunities.There's a boat crossing connecting the two areas but it only runs 9-5.30pm. Hampi village seems to be getting busier as it becomes an integral part of the traveller circuit but it's still peaceful. It has all you need, accommodation, restaurants, money exchange, travel agents, shops, massage, scooter hire, yoga (good for rest days).

We stayed in Lakmi a Golden Beach Resort which was picturesque (20 rooms) but we wish we'd stayed at the Goan Corner (9 rooms, delicious food and a good vibe), must book ahead. The rest of the guesthouses on Hampi Island seemed quite generic and not so nice.

Climbing is awesome and uses font grades, mostly the start of each climb is the trickiest move and so there's not that much for beginners. There was a good number of other climbers around and many congregate in the evening to watch the sunrise on a big boulder overlooking Hampi chilling to the sound of drums, a trumpet and dijaridoo. We took our own boots and chalk and hired mats (ok quality) when we arrived - can get from Tom and Jerry (shack on Main Street) or Shiva Guest house. We wished we had the geo quest 'Golden Boulders' guidebook by Kruger and Jupe, unfortunately we only had an Indian one by Chauhan and a topo from Tom and Jerry's which was pretty poor. It should have said to find the climbing head up the hill to the plateau above the Goan corner guesthouse then you can literally see where all the boulders are - would have saved us lots of time! All areas are within a 2km area and all walking distance though we scootered to some. The landings are mostly decent with some some high-ball and hard descents but overall lots or variety. The plateau is good for warming up and meeting other climbers on day one. The weather is perfect in January, hot and breezy but realistically you can only climb mornings and evenings. Even then the granite is tough on the fingers so we only climbed for a few hours once a day. That's ok though as there's lots to do - tour the temples, get a 7 massage, do yoga, hire a scooter and explore etc. Take sun cream, mosquito repellent and a camera!

Overall we loved Hampi and can't wait to return with friends. Hope this is helpful.

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