Friday, 29 November 2013

Holiday snaps

In some ways it seems only five minutes ago since I got back from Pakistan and in others it seems a long long time ago and a distinct lack of posts here. My motivation for climbing was pretty much at an all time low after getting back from the Charakusa valley.  Partly due to  letting Jon down but also just the fact it was another unsuccessful trip, two in row after the Chamlang expedition with Nick last year. Now that’s pretty standard for the Himalayan game (unless you’re Mick Fowler who seems to manage to nail amazing objectives on every recent trip!) but it’s still very frustrating.

I haven’t managed much climbing in the past few months but have a had a couple of great weekend trips out to Chamonix and the odd day out on the grit. 

Running up on the Chaine des Fiz, definitely the quite side of the valley but equally as stunning

Amazing views of the Mt Blanc Massif, a very special place

Reminding the arms and head how to rock climb at Cratcliffe (photo Chris Coleman)

At the end of October Josie and I headed off to Sicily for 9 days. There is such a difference between holidays and expeditions and after the pressure, stress and disappointment of Pakistan, Sicily was utter bliss.

Somewhere on Mount Etna... no we didn't see very much of it

A very moody looking Taormina with Mount Etna in the distance
We had an amazing time exploring the Island and in between taking in all the sights and local food managed to squeeze in a bit of road biking and a few days climbing.  The climbing development is fairly recent and growing every day.  We based ourselves in San Vito Lo Capo for three days climbing, a small coastal town on the NW corner of Sicily. It is home to the most concentrated and extensive climbing on the island and makes a great Euro sport climbing destination.

Looking across at the San Vito Lo Capo coast line and sea cliffs that are home to a lot of the climbing.
We weren't there purely for climbing and with only three half days of climbing hardly touch the area.  We both really enjoyed it though and although some people have said that the quality isn't amazing the few routes I did were really good with a mix of all styles. It definitely more than just the climbing quality that makes it a good destination, the setting and local region all make it a worth while visit.  More importantly it definitely got my psyche back for climbing.  Just be warned about the crazy and sometimes very baffling 'pig's tail' lower offs, they take some working out when you're pumped stupid!   

Exploring the streets of the medieval town of Cefalu

They sure knew how to build stuff back in the day, the ruins of Sergesta

Josie riding in the hills above Castellammare del Golfo

Water stop in Scoppelo

Sicily was great, road biking, climbing and and a whole load of culture thrown into one.  A few of the other highlights were watching Stromboli erupt five times during dinner - pretty amazing!  Exploring the old medieval streets of Cefalu and enjoying the local food and very nice local wine...  And on top of that, not stressing about getting up a big mountain everyday!

Loving Life!