I spent 8 months in Alaska, working at the Geophysical Institute of Fairbanks and doing some hiking, biking and climbing. Summer '95. Among the climbs I've done there: a solo ascent of Denali in 9 days, Mt Hunter and some first ascents on Mt Prindle.
is a nice country, not only llamas and volcanoes. Ecuador July '94. 6 summits including a new route on the south face of Mt Chimborazo and Mt Cotopaxi.
Numerous ascents in foul weather in autumn '94, 2000 and 2005 including Mt Cook and Mt Tasman via several different routes, a 54 hour epic on the north ridge of Mt Sefton, Elie de Baumont, Hoerchester Dome, Malte Brun, Mt Aspiring, the walk through the Copland Pass, some northern volcanoes and always plenty of wildlife such as birds, whales and diving with blue sharks.
We moved to Fort Collins in November 2000 and started climbing everything around the nearby Rocky Mountains...
Go read the stories and see the other pictures about various cultural rants and rock climbing, Mountain climbing, the ascent of the Casual Route of the Diamond, the Scenic Cruise in the Black Canyon of Gunnison, some Backcountry skiing, Ice climbing and a hike down Grand Canyon.
Red Rocks, Nevada
What can one do in Las Vegas ? Climb at Red Rocks of course. We went back more than once on this amazing sandstone and bagged plenty of Classics: Crimson Chrysalis, the Prince of Darkness, Epinephrine, Ginger Crack, Eagle Dance, Levitation 29, Solar Slab, Inti Watana, Resolution Arête, Unimpeachable Groping, Power Failure, Rock Warrior and more.
A couple trips to Wyoming in 2001~2002 on 3 separate pages: getting sandbagged on Vedauwoo's offwidths, some rodeo pictures, a quick tourist trip to Yellowstone, the Wind River Range, Devil's Tower and its amazing cracks, the full Exum ridge up the Grand Teton and the needles and Mt Rushmore in nearby South Dakota.
A 4 months road trip ended our stay in Colorado in 2003 and caused the addition and update of many pages:
Numerous winter climbs: waterfalls, ice gullies and mixed routes. I'm not going to waste my time putting pictures of things seen hundreds of times. If you want some, just open any climbing magazine... Well, I only put here my best climb, the central pillar of Freney, probably the hardest way to climb one's first Mt Blanc ! But another way is simply to ski it...
In 2004 we moved to
Briançon in the heart of the Alps, near the Ecrins National Park where excellent rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry, skiing as well as mountain biking abounds. And climbing the Meije.
2007, moving yet again to
Grenoble, the big city of the Alps. Plenty of interesting mountain ranges within spitting distance: Chartreuse and its green liquor, Maurienne and its ski, Belledonne, Diois, Devoluy, Grandes Rousses, Taillefer, Vanoise, Beaufortain, La Bérarde, Champsaur, Ubaye... And don't forget the Jacuzzi!
2012, moved yet again, but this time a short distance,
up to the Vercors, its WWII fighters, the classic cliff of Presles, the birthplace of climbing at Mt Aiguille, great panorama, ski, an excellent 2012 ice climbing season and daily mountain bike descents.
Besides the Alps, there are plenty of other climbing spots in France, such as the Ardeche, Corsica or even Bretagne.
South of there is plenty of climbing in Provence, particular the cliff of Ceuse, the odd crack climbing of Annot or the seaside cliffs of the Calanques.
When it gets too cold to climb in France, it may be a good idea to head farther south to Riglos or other spots in Spain or Kalymnos, Greece.
Jenny had wanted to get me to climb in the Dolomites for quite a while, but we managed to find the time only last summer. Great climbs on Civetta and the 3 towers of Lavaredo, but it rained every single day ! August '99.
Nepal and Tibet
On our way to Cho-Oyu we took our time to visit Nepal and Tibet. Here are a few ordinary tourist pictures of temples and such.
Towering at 8201m, Cho-Oyu is one of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks in the world. Not the highest, not the hardest, but quite hard enough for a first experience of high altitude mountaineering without sherpa or oxygen. September 2000.
"I don't have any friends, and my nuts are too small."
— Anonymous climber on a bad day.
You might be a mountain climber if
A great deal of sweat went into the elaboration of these climbing dictionaries. Sweat mostly from being up a cliff belaying and hearing 'Mola !' or 'Vola !' or something like that, and not being quite sure about my foreign partner's life expectancy at that point. So I've talked with some of my partners on their hospital beds to come up with a French / English / Italian climbing dictionary. About 300 terms for rock as well as mountain climbing and skiing are translated all 3 ways.
Well, I didn't do much climbing there, except for a couple of icebergs (positively the worst ice in the known universe), some crevasses (a little unstable, he Grosnitho ?) and some bouldering on penguin shit with plastic boots. But the center is dead flat, hopeless for climbing, although when I flew over the Transantarctic Range, I saw some mighty mountains and big walls awaiting their first climbers.
Anyway, don't miss my iceberg climbing pictures.
I spent 7 weeks in Cordillera Blanca in summer '96, around Huaraz and climbed (or tried) 9 summits including the first solo ascent of the north face of Huascaran nord, in a day, the solo ascent of the south face of Huascaran sud, the 2nd ascent of a Slovenian route on the north face of Ranrapalca...
40 days climbing in scorching heat in Australia in early 2006: Blue Mountains, Arapiles, Mt Buffalo, Grampians, Point Perpendicular...
On the other hand, no climbing story for
Tasmania, but some hiking on the Overland track and the southwest rain forest, an ascent of Federation Peak, biking on Brusny island and some pictures of cool animals (kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, fairy penguins or this Tawney Frogmouth on the right). Dec '92, Feb '94 & March '98.
Several interesting areas in Arizona: The Mace in Sedona ( Dec '01, just 45 years after the first ascent), Granite Mountain, Mt Lemon and the beautiful winter destination of Cochise Stronghold.
Besides Colorado, we are also exploring nearby areas, like Moab in Utah. A place of sandstone towers in the middle of the desert, super cracks, soft sandy rock, John Wayne hotels and so much more...
Go read the stories and pictures about the Six-Shooters, Indian Creek, Castleton, Arches NP, Ancient Art as well as climbing Jah Man and Moses Tower, more desert towers, the unmistakable Zion and hiking through the Anasazie ruins of Grand Gulch.
Part of our 2003 road trip where we saw 3 areas: the very nice City of Rocks, the smooth SuperSlab and the quality long routes of Elephant Perch in the Sawtooth mountains.
California & Yosemite
There is more to California than just Yosemite, but it took me 8 years to notice:
Yosemite trip ( '95): the Nose of El Capitan (1100m, 5.8 A2) in a very long day, the DNB of Middle Cathedral (600m, 5.10 A0), the Snake Dike (5.7) of Half-Dome free solo and more 2nd
Yosemite trip ( 2003): the Salathé Wall of El Capitan (1000m, 5.10 A2) in 3 days, the offwidth packed Steck-Salathé, the long regular route on the NW face of Half Dome, plenty (Frenzy, Stoner's Highway, E-buttress) on Middle Cathedral and more. A side trip to
Tuolumne for the classic on Fairview Dome, the harder Lucky Streak on that same dome and an easier approach to Crest Jewel on North Dome. And
also Joshua Tree, Tahquiz, Suicide, Lake Tahoe, Lover's Leap, Sugarloaf, the magical Needles...
Teaching Jenny to ski in the Sarek National Park, in northern Sweden. Nice place but bad weather. April '99.
Numerous ascents on long rock climbs and winter climbs in the chain: some first descents on monoski and lots of mountaineering ski in the Gran Sasso Apennines, first solo ascent of Meridionalizziamoci (250m TD+ VI+), solo trilogy of the 3 longest routes of Apennines, several first ascents on the Pollino in the deep south of Italy, farther north the Val d'Orco is one of the too rare crack climbing areas in Europe.
Read my paper about Gran Sasso in and or read three climbing horror stories (also in )... More recent pics of Gran Sasso.
Farther south some climbing in Sicily and a hike on Mt Etna, some mountain biking and climbing in Sardinia. Also some climbing on the almost italian island of Malta.
Farther north there's ice in Aosta, roc in Arco and Val di Mello...
7th and last continent I reach: Africa. A month climbing in Madagascar on the scenic Nosy Hara islands and the Tsaranoro big wall under the stare of Lemurs, chameleons and other (bitting) critters.
After passing too briefly through Slovenia, we spend 2 weeks visiting Croatia and climbing long routes in Paklenica canyon and sport routes above the sea on Hvar island.
Still in the mediterranean, we spent some time climbing on the tiny historic island of Malta.
Getting ever closer to Africa, we start with the middle east and a trad climbing trip to the sandstone domes of Wadi Rum and its crazy bedouin hikes.
Then 6 months later I finally set foot on the continent itself, climbing in the high Atlas at Taghia, Morocco.