Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and many many thanks to to everyone who made 2013 a memorable year!!!!!!!!!!! Here's a pic of our mascot on the 1st of 2014.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

No Climbing...Just Raining and Snowing

The Scottish Highlands? Nope, the sunny Hautes-Alpes.  Anne navigating the
wetness while biking up Petite Céüse.
    This winter and spring has been absolutely crappy weather for the Hautes-Alpes.  It's been the biggest topic of conversation around here.  Just ask anybody (especially anyone that has been living here for more than 20 years) and they'll say that it has been the snowiest, greyest and wettest winter/spring they have ever seen.
    Rain and snow has really put a damper on any of the climbing that we were hoping to do this spring, especially at Céüse. 
   We've decided to embracing the bad weather...not yet to the point of climbing soggy rock in the rain, but to the point of putting on our rain jackets in our backpacks knowing that we are going to use them, and knowing that we are going to be wet and cold by the end of the day.
    Riding bicycles seems to be a good distraction from climbing at the moment...
This is how we have fun in the rain....



Enjoying the views on the top of Petite Céüse
    

Friday, May 17, 2013

Porch Cam, Céüse; Friday May 17th 2013

Fresh snow anyone?  Hopefully this is winters last effort for the season...but it might be a little chilly up there this weekend...brrrr....


Monday, May 13, 2013

Barcillonnette

Anne enjoying some fine biking around Barcillonnette.
The snow has melted and spring is in the air in the Hautes-Alpes. Yesterday, Anne and I decided to check out the picturesque village of Barcillonette and do a little bike tour to get a better view of the area. 

Barcillonnette is a 215 year old village that rests in the next valley to the south of Céüse.  The village has 145 habitats and the valley is quiet and peaceful, and has much more of a Provencal feel then the valleys more to the north.


Getting prepared for the ride in Barcillonnette
The main tourist attraction is this quaint 200 year old church
The post office of Barcillonnette

Anne starting the ride up
 The village also lies on the edge of 2 protected forests. The 6000 acre Forêt domaniale de Beynon 6000 acre as well as the 400 acre Forêt communale de Barcillonnette are host to great hiking and biking trails.

Petite Céüse and the village of Barcillonnette


another view....the cliff of Céüse can now be seen behind Petite Céüse.
 We rode our bikes up and up the side of the mountain and got some great views--and really enjoyed the descent!





Sunday, May 12, 2013

Porch Cam Céüse, Sunday, May 12, 2013

Now that the climbing season is getting under way, time for more porch cam updates!
A beautiful day out there this Sunday morning!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Turkey!

The impressive Blus Mosque in Istanbul
The climbing in Turkey is amazing!  We just got back to France after spending 3 weeks camping and climbing in the world class destination of Gerikbari.  



Sector Sarkit and Anatolia at Geyikbayi
The limestone cliffs of Geyikbayi were 'discovered' by climbers in the late 90's and the first routes were established in 2000.  Now Gerikbayi hosts some 600 established routes as well as several campgrounds and guesthouses.  It's now a super popular winter climbing destination for Europeans.  Not so popular for the Americans as I found out...I was in a swarm of German, french, polish, sweedish, dutch, english, etc. and I didn't meet one american the whole month.  Although I think heard what could have been an american accent one time at the cliff...but it could have also been canadian. 


A close up view of sector Sarkit
Nice walk to the cliff

We stayed in the 'Climbers Garden' campsite.   The Climbers Garden is family run and is one of the original climbers campgrounds and it's within walking distance to all the cliffs.



Climbing just a 5 minute walk from the camping...


The camping just below and view of Mt. Geyik Sivrisi

 
We decided to camp 'first class', so we rented a tent with a mattress and pillows and blanket it was pretty comfortable.  It's small, and there were about 25 other people staying there, which was about capacity I would say.  There is a communal kitchen where everybody cooks and stores their food, which is nice, but it's a disaster trying to cook in the kitchen during dinner time rush.

First class camping!
The climbing was super fun--lots of tufas as well as technical face climbing. It was difficult to take any climbing pictures because it was just the two of us. 
Anne scouting out the next climb at sector Anatolia
Some local flora
A local goat trying to eat our guidebook at the crag
We didn't have a car, but  the locals are friendly and it was easy to hitch-hike to the next village to go the the farmer market on Saturday or Sunday. It was also pretty easy to catch the bus all the way into the city of Antayla for some shopping in the big supermarkets.

Anne thinks she might win this one...
The 3 weeks passed way too quickly, and soon we found ourselves sadly packing our bags to leave. 

Anne climbing at sector Trebenna on our last day of climbing

But it was on to our next adventure... 2 days being tourists in Istanbul before taking the plane home. 
That was really a cool experience, we basically spent 2 days wandering around the touristy part of the city checking things out and eating fresh pomegranate juice and kebabs....Turkey was super awesome and we're pretty excited to go back in the near future!


Wandering around Istanbul
The sea of Marmara.
Inside the Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque detail
I got shaved! Amazing experience...
More Istanbul....the metro is super easy to use...
Anne ready to relax with a cold beer at our hotel
on our last night in Istanbul...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Céüse Topo

For all you climbers out there...here is a colorful and motivational topo showing the different sectors of Céüse...I had a great time making it.
 
 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Years in the Verdon


New Years destination: 'Courchon' in the Verdon Gorge.

We decided that the best way to spend the New Years was to be with friends...and to go climbing! So Anne and I planned on a 10 day climbing trip to the Verdon Gorge with some friend from Gap, Mael Mikael, Leo and Jon. This was an extra special New Years because it was also our first climbing trip with 'Bob', our new yellow van. So on December 27th, Anne and I packed up our climbing gear and headed south with Bob, leaving the snowy Hautes-Alpes region behind us in search of warm sun and steep rock in the Verdon.



Bob
It was about a 2hr journey on small, twisty European roads to arrive at the primitive camping area which was right at the top of the cliff.   We would call this little camping spot our home for the next 10 days or so. Mikael,  Mael and Leo arrived shortly after us, with the gypsy caravan in tow. 
Leaving the snow of Céüse for some warm sun in the Verdon!
On the road

The gypsy caravan...
...and its owner
home sweet home...
View from the top of the cliff.
 
The weather was great.  The cliff was in the winter sun all day, and the climbing was amazing! 


Using a rope to descend to the trail.
The upper section of the cliff.
Anne climbing tufas on 'Babo Babo' one of the nicest 8a's at Courchon

Leo giving an attentive belay

Mika falling off his flash attempt of 'Combat de coq' a bouldery 8a.



Each night we were rewarded with amazing sunsets

New years eve in the caravan!
New Years Day was a little rainy, so we decided to take a rest day and go look for a hidden cave which, according to rumors, had some climbs in it.


Mael and Mikael...lost..
After about an hour or so wandering about and bushwhacking through thick shrub, we finally stumbled upon the cave...

There it is!
 
There are a few established routes inside the cave and room for a few more...


After the rest day, the weather became warm and sunny again and it was time for more climbing!
Mael is motivated!

Jon on a great 7c 'Sabrecane'

 After 7 days of climbing and hanging out in the sun, it was time to head back home.  It was a great new years and a great trip and I'm sure that we will be back to visit Courchon in the future.
 
Bob and the gypsy mobile in the light of the full moon at Courchon.