/ Beating a dead horse: sport climbing in spring

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Adrien - on 25 Nov 2016
Hi,

I feel guilty just starting a new topic on this but three friends and I are considering a sport climbing trip in April and I'm looking for suggestions as to where to go.

The main hindrance here is that my friends aren't obsessed climbers like I am and will only climb 4s and low 5s, while I climb in the upper 6s and low 7s. So I'm looking for a destination where we could find routes of those grades ideally close to one another. We'd like something rather warm too as we'll be camping. A beautiful campground in a lovely setting (think Ailefroide) would be an asset though not mandatory.

Was thinking of Orpierre (yes I'm French and I'm asking Brits what they think about a French crag ), maybe Kalymnos, Finale Ligure? I've never really been to all those big destinations you hear about all the time so don't know what to expect. Off the beaten path destinations are welcome too, so long as there's sort of a good base from which we could travel aound. Ideally something not too busy... though I do realize the places I've mentioned are probably the opposite of that (we'd go during the middle two weeks of April I think if that's any help)!

So, yeah, thanks in advance
Fraser on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

My genuine advice? Go on holiday with fellow climbing obsessives not folk who aren't really into it. It'll open up loads more possibilities.
kipper12 - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

I tend to agree with the last reply. Having been with a weaker group it can be frustrating, I would at least make sure you have someone at around your level
Heike - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Kalymnos is great for that as you can find easier climbs right amounts harder ones. Other options could be South of France (maybe too close for you??) or Sicily or Mallorca. Orpierre has got loads, too. Not sure if April isn't a bit too early ?? I have always been a wee bit later.
jimtitt - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to Heike:

Is there a campsite on Kalymnos these days?
Sicily is ideal as there are 4´´ s,5´ s and 6´ s all mixed together and the warmest of all the normal suggestions and the campsite directly under the cliff. You can leave most of your camping stuff at home as well as there is a covered campers cooking area with stoves etc.
Adrien - on 26 Nov 2016

> My genuine advice? Go on holiday with fellow climbing obsessives not folk who aren't really into it. It'll open up loads more possibilities.

We live several hours' drive from one another since we left uni, so holidays are pretty much the only time we get to hang around together, so it's not really an option Besides when on holiday I'm happy just sampling everything a place has to offer, like in Bishop I had loads of fun climbing the easy (highball) stuff that looked amazing. But I would still like to climb some harder stuff than 5b if possible. I get your point though, but I think I'll have to open a separate thread to find partners for gorges du Tarn

> Kalymnos is great for that as you can find easier climbs right amounts harder ones. Other options could be South of France (maybe too close for you??) or Sicily or Mallorca. Orpierre has got loads, too. Not sure if April isn't a bit too early ?? I have always been a wee bit later.

Yeah actually South of France would be great, I think ideally we'd want to keep travel time by car under 10 hours from Font, so that leaves us with Northern Italy or Spain and Southern France (unless we're taking the place and the logistics aren't too much of a hassle). The thing about France is I know where to go for 6s and 7s, but not so much for easier climbs (apart from the Brian£on/Ailefroide area but it'll be too early in the season). So if you've loved a place in France I'm all ears. Orpierre may be a bit early yes, I don't know...

Sicily I suppose you mean San Vito lo Capo? Been reading a bit about the corrosion problems recently and it's not very enticing... though the place looks amazing. Kalymnos might be the same however? Mallorca I think is not as accessible from France as it is from the UK, I doubt we have the same direct, cheap flights you have.


Edit: huh, so second vote for Sicily. I don't know when you've been there but I read a very recent report (this month or last month) saying some routes had "NO CLIMBING - DANGEROUS" or something like that written at the base, and there seems to be insecure belays and so on. It seems like the gear they used wasn't really adapted to a seaside environment. Thoughts?
Post edited at 08:25
john arran - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

If you don't know the area already, Ariège sounds like it will fit the bill perfectly. Plenty of crags with both 5s and 7s, good campsites, very short drive to crags and plenty of things for folk to do when not climbing.

http://www.rockfax.com/climbing-guides/all/france-ariege-2012/
ukb shark - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to Fraser:

> My genuine advice? Go on holiday with fellow climbing obsessives not folk who aren't really into it. It'll open up loads more possibilities.

My advice? Don't start a family
Adrien - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to john arran:

Never been to Ariège and it does look great, but won't it be a bit cold at that time of year? (Maybe not more so than say Orpierre though?) I was saving this as more of a summer destination but I'm happy to be proven wrong. (Although I would be a bit gutted that I couldn't get on Dent d'Orlu with my friends.)
davidbeynon on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:
I remember Costa Durada area having a good range of grades. The crags seemed fairly quiet when I was there too.

On that trip I was one of the ones on the 5s.
Post edited at 10:05
john arran - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

You certainly won't be getting on the Dent in April as it will be largely snow-bound still, but most of the valley crags are at only 500-800m altitude so pretty reliable in April as they don't hold snow even in the middle of winter.

Depends what you're most interested in, I suppose, and later in the season you get a better choice of crags (at the expense of some of the low South-facing ones getting unpleasantly hot) but by the sound of your OP I had no idea you would be wanting something as long and committing as routes on the Dent!
Adrien - on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to john arran:

No no you're absolutely right I don't have any intention and climbing on the Dent, I just meant that I would be frustrated passing by it without being able to get on it A bit like driving through Indian Creek with my better, but non climbing half. Other than that it does sound lovely, and I like the fact that there seems to be different types of rock (something I really enjoyed in Ailefroide).

Costa Daurada is another obvious option, any particularly good bases?
davidbeynon on 26 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Can't remember exactly where I stayed as it was over 10 years ago, but we got an apartment for about 7 people in a village in the hills. I will ask one of the others if they can remember.

It is a distressing reflection on my character that I do remember it only being a 20 minute drive to this place: http://www.vinateria-boli.com
Jonas Wiklund - on 27 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

The correct answer to your original question is without the slightest shadow of doubt Montserrat. It has several thousands of quality routes from 2c to 9a, from one to twelve pitches, there's a lot of other stuff to do (Barcelona etc) and April is probably the best month to visit the area. Decent lodging in Montserrat probably works out cheaper than a campground in France.
Andrew Lodge - on 27 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

If you want Southern France how about the area around Narbonne and Perpignan, several crags within a reasonable drive including La Clape, Vingrau, Notre Dame du Cros and a few other small crags, all have a good spread of grades and the weather should be perfect at that time of year.
jondo - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Finale Ligure has a lot of routes. but you are not climbing on the beach most of the time.
I didn't find the easy routes so nice, i mean the old ones are graded 70's style... (6b feels like 7a...)
Kalymnos should be good at that time. would feel more of a holiday i think, you climb with the sea in front of you, then go to the beach for a beer afterwards... lot's of tufa climbing
very different that the UK.
can't say anything bad about the place, even the locals are nice !
Rog Wilko on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

The obvious destination is Provence. Plenty of crags with good easy routes such as Baume Rousse often south facing and easily warm enough in April.
The Ivanator - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to john arran:

Agree that Ariege in April is certainly doable, we stayed at Chez Arran last April (you can camp there although we rented a very reasonable apartment) and found plenty to entertain us in modest grades (we were mostly on 5a - 6a) and in general the weather was kind - on the South facing Calames it was certainly T Shirts and shorts on the best days. Auzat should be well suited to your needs as well. Having a variety of bolted rock types (granite, limestone, gniess) was one of the main draws of Ariege for us. If you have a hire car there are crags within 1 and a half to 2 hours drive of Ariege that may well have totally different weather, we nipped to Les Caunes (La Clape) on one damp day and climbed in the sun with views of the Med - not the same route quality as Ariege though.
I guess the weather there is less certain than some more Southerly options, and I'd agree that Sicily looks good - vaguely considering that for an April/May trip in 2017 myself (funds allowing). Costa Blanca has plenty of crags with a good grade range - you could spend a whole week at Sella for example, and it will probably be sunny. Mallorca suggested above is not so great for your companions as to get much from it I reckon you need to be confident on at least 5+/6a.
HakanT on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Not the first place you may think of, but how about Portugal? I've been to Cascais in March for the last couple of years for a long weekend, and it's been great. You get limestone sport climbing right on the Atlantic at Farol da Guia Farol da Guia and granite sport and trad at Sintra. Sintra. Both areas have a wide range of grades. Plenty of non-climbing things to see and do around Cascais and Lisbon.
Adrien - on 28 Nov 2016
Lots of good suggestions, thanks folks!

In reply to Jonas Wiklund:

I would love to go to Montserrat, the place looks stunning and it'd be nice to climb on a different type of rock. Looks like it's realtively high up, won't it be a bit cold in April? And worse than that, since we'd be there around Semana Santa, won't the place be overrun?

> Not the first place you may think of, but how about Portugal? I've been to Cascais in March for the last couple of years for a long weekend, and it's been great. You get limestone sport climbing right on the Atlantic at Farol da Guia Farol da Guia and granite sport and trad at Sintra. Sintra. Both areas have a wide range of grades. Plenty of non-climbing things to see and do around Cascais and Lisbon.

Yeah Portugal sounds great, but I think I'd rather go with more experienced people to make the most of the bouldering too and possibly trad if/when I finally get into it. The two areas you mentioned look gorgeous.


Agree that Provence and La Clape area are well worth considering too. Ariège really sounds like a winner and has the advantage of being a bit more off the radar than SE France (I assume?). In the end I think the choice will be based on total time available and money.
Trangia - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Hi Adrien

Sorry, but I'm being a Pedant with regard to your post title!

The correct English expression is "Flogging a dead horse" not "Beating..."

Your English is excellent (light years ahead of my French!), so I hope you don't mind this little correction?

Good luck in your search
Chris Craggs - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Trangia:

> The correct English expression is "Flogging a dead horse" not "Beating..."

How much do you want for it?

Chris

;-)
Trangia - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> How much do you want for it?

> Chris

> ;-)

Ha ha!! English is not just rich but bloody difficult at times too........
Adrien - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Trangia:

I've always used both interchangeably - you mean "beating" is the American version? If so then I'll see to it that I use the correct word next time ;-) (And no, I don't mind!)
Trangia - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Both mean to hit an animal (horse) or person.

"Flogging" is Old English for hitting the horse so as to encourage it to move faster. On the other hand the Navy and Army used to flog men as a punishment. As Chris pointed out "flogging" can also mean selling.

"Beating" an animal has a very slightly different meaning more akin to hitting an animal as a punishment or out of cruelty, as against trying to encourage it.

It is confusing and all about the context of it's use.

Glad you didn't mind. I had a French girlfriend for many years and she always wanted me to correct her use of English. Like you her English was excellent. She used to correct my French too, but whereas she would learn from it, I sadly lagged well behind with my French!!
LeeWood - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

I am (have been) in a similar situation to you - always searching for crags with a good spread of grades. I've done a week in March in the Llerida zone for the past 3 yrs and weather has been correct for this.
Jonas Wiklund - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

> I would love to go to Montserrat, the place looks stunning and it'd be nice to climb on a different type of rock. Looks like it's realtively high up, won't it be a bit cold in April? And worse than that, since we'd be there around Semana Santa, won't the place be overrun?

No, there really is no time of the year when it is too cold for the south side of Montserrat (except on windy days in Dec-Jan).
Rog Wilko on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Trangia:

Well, since you've started the grammatical/semantic witch-hunt......... I was wondering why the OP chose that phrase anyway, as I can't see what it has to do with the question! Perhaps I'm missing something - I often do. Just curious, not being critical.
Bulls Crack - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

Mallorca? Currently on my mind as a Spring destination
ads.ukclimbing.com
Adrien - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Er, because it seems to me that "spring sport climbing destination" is a topic that's been done to death, much like "Rainy days in Font" or "Which shoes/trousers/fleece/pet dugong"... But perhaps that title is really off track, I have a tendency to try to use idioms even though I'm not 100% sure of their exact meaning, just for the sake of using idioms or helping memorize a phrase I've learnt by using it.

@Trangia: Thanks for the explanation, I learnt something today (actually two things, had no idea flog could also mean to sell!). As for your French it doesn't really matter if it's not perfect, my compatriotes are just happy when a foreigner does the effort of actually speaking at least a few words (and girls often find the English accent to be cute ;-)).
Rog Wilko on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to Adrien:

I wondered if that was the reason. :O)

Incidentally, I'm interested in your suggestion that French people are pleased when foreigners make the effort to use the language, however incorrectly and i do try if only to be polite. As others have admitted their poor French, I need to do the same! Given time I can usually make myself understood in French but can rarely understand the reply, unless spoken very slowly with no idioms. It doesn't often happen. I think this is partly due to the way languages were taught in the 1950s in UK - mainly in writing. But I still love France and (most) of its people. After the Brexit vote I briefly wondered about emigrating there.

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