/ First climbing holiday - options and advice

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dl_wraith - on 16 Sep 2013
So, I'm sitting in sunny Manchester (HA!) starring at the rain and feeling miserable when I thought, "Hey! I know!! I'll book a holiday and climb in more pleasant conditions!". I'm sure I'm not the first to think along these lines

Problem is, I'm pretty much solo - no regular partners or close buddies to drag with me and no real idea as to good places. Add to this a distinct lack of experience and you're looking at a (relatively funny) disaster waiting to happen.

To mitigate the problem I've found a site to get a climbing 'holiday' from where guides etc are provided. Now the dilemma is this:
Costa Brava or Kylmanos?

And, if I do this, what advice would you have for your first time climbing in foreign lands? I'm used to the travel thing (I've had a couple of snowboarding trips abroad in recent years) but I'm sure this will require a different thought process to usual. I'd rather be prepared, if you know what I mean.

dl_wraith - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith: Sorry - I should explain, I so far haven't led any climbs and am climbing indoor at 6a and outdoor up to HVS (although it can be scrappy and a bit of a struggle). Mobility is an issue so attacking higher grade classic climbs with confidence isn't an option right now.
neilwiltshire on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith: Use these guys for a guided sport climbing holiday: http://www.rockandsun.com/

I went with them a couple of years ago for my first climbing trip to Costa Blanca and can highly recommend them. Needless to say it set me up nicely for the many many trips I have since done with friends and without guides.
derryclimbs - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith:
dont pack your climbing gear in your carry on luggage! Its lethal stuff (apparently).
dl_wraith - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to neilwiltshire: Funnily enough, they are the people I'm in touch with right now

Good to see a positive experience - certainly makes me more confident now.
dl_wraith - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to derryclimbs: Yep. Still, not half a lethal as Dublin airport found my wife's nail file or my network crimping tool.

"What are we going to do? MANICURE the pilot to death??"

Erm....apparently that's a genuine fear of the cabin staff. STAND BACK EVERYONE! SHE HAS A 2 inch NAILFILE AND SHE KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!!

Joking aside I know they're trying to err on the side of safety but come on - common sense, people!
neilwiltshire on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith: Yep, i can recommend them - of course I can only (highly) recommend Dave in Calpe, Alicante rather than any of the other destinations - but I do recommend him for sure, if he's still there. He's English, so no language issues, great guy, will look after you and get you really confident.
dl_wraith - on 19 Sep 2013
Seems the rock&Sun option is favourable at the moment and Costa Brava is edging it on my choice.

Seems the only concerns I have now are figuring the weather and what sort of issues my lack of Spanish language may put up given this is self-catering in a foreign land.

Any one willing to share their experiences with Spanish weather and poor language skills?
AG - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to derryclimbs:
> (In reply to dl_wraith)
> dont pack your climbing gear in your carry on luggage!
I always pack my quickdraws, rope etc in my hand luggae. Never had any problems.
Ice axes might be an issue ...or a large hex!

John W on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith:
> Any one willing to share their experiences with Spanish weather

I've been to Calpe three times in October - the weather has been a trifle varied to say the least! We had one week of unboken sunshine and perfect conditions, one week was a bit mixed, and last time we hit the "Gota fria" - Google it, but you won't like it!

As for language skills, don't worry - their English will always beat your Spanish hands down (not something I'm proud of, but there you go).

tlm - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith:

When are you actually planning to go? Is it in October?

Make sure that you take more than one pair of boots and make sure that one set is baggy - your feet will swell if it is hot.
Take a phrase book. Always handy if you go anywhere rural and even if people speak good English, it still makes them smile and generates a bit of good will for them to see you trying.
dl_wraith - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to John W: Cold drop, eh? You're right - that doesn't look fun at all!! And there I am complaining about Manchester rain....

dl_wraith - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to tlm: Yep, October for me.

I take your point about trying - I always try where I can. Seems only polite after all. I usually try and learn the equivalent of: "I'm sorry my [language] is not good"
tlm - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith:

Then I would advise taking a wide range of clothes! It can be boiling hot in October, or quite chilly and rainy, so be prepared for either. Think about what you will do if the weather isn't right for climbing, but also make sure you take a sun hat, sun cream etc!

You will have a great time, wherever you go and this holiday will probably be the first of many!

We've usually hired a car, to make it easy to visit different crags.

I love October as a time of year to go away, but can't go in the autumn because of my work, so I am quite envious.
Sam Mayfield - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith:

Work in exchange for board, loads of people to climb with at all levels.

We are taking on lots of people for this winter season as we have 3 sites now, one in Sella you could fall out of bed and start climbing, check out our facebook page I am not joking!


contact me if interested mail:sam@theorangehouse.co.uk

Sam Orange
kipper12 - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith: Kalymnos would fit the bill, so,many routes of friendly grades at the same location, routes well bolted up so that would be my recommendation.

I have climbed at the costa balance, costa darauda and Sardinia, as well as Kalymnos. For a first trip and just finding your feet outdoors it wins hands down, add to that the weather and Greek food, what's not to like.

Am off for my third trip there in 3 years, a week Sunday so something must be dragging me back.

nicolas durand - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to dl_wraith: You could try climb catalunya trips. Perfect for first climbing holiday abroad. Basically its full of people without climbing partners, who have climbed before indoors or outdoors who havent got a climbing partner. Its no hassle you book your flight and het picked up at barcelona airport, accomodation is in a refugio in abella de la conca fully reserved for climb catalunya clients. Breakfast, pack lunch and dinner are provided and you get driven everyday to different crags ( collegats, villanova, alos de balaguer, cubells, ager, etc see lleida climbs guidebook for crag reference). You need your own equipment.
There are spaces available for the october trip ( i think dates are 12th to 19th oct). That time of year its perfect, you dont get the hordes of crowds and queues you get in kalymnis due to the north face festival there at that time, you ger plenty of sunshine but its cool enough to enjoy your climbing. If you are london based you can pop in the castle wall and get more info (ask for sophy) . If your not send an email to climbcatalunya@ ymail.com for tarif and more info.
Hope this was helpful.

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