Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Climbing Holiday: Calpe, Spain (19 April->26 April)

We decided to do a week of climbing for this year's Spring holiday. So off we went to Spain. :-)

Saturday: early flight to Alicante; pick up our rental car; drive up to Calpe (nice views along the drive); check into our flat; do some shopping;
Calpe and the Peñón de Ifach
Sunday: taking it easy, trying to recover from our colds, and enjoying the weather; walk up the Toix Mirador, along the road to the TV towers, and then back along the ridge to the Mirador. Great weather, great views (well, except for the towns, which are pretty horrible).
View from the ridge of the Morro de Toix
Monday: climbing Sierra de Toix, which is 5 minutes drive + 5 minutes walking from the flat... nice!
Routes in sector Toix Far Oeste: Asombroso (3+), Costilla (4+), La roja dos (4), Bella ruta (4), Ocho fixe (4), La roja tres (5), La cagona (4+). Very busy day at Toix Far Oeste.

Tuesday: climbing Sierra de Toix. We planned the day better, so we did a long morning of climbing, lunch and siesta, and then a shorter evening of climbing before dinner (similar schedule to our Sicily trip).
Routes in sector Toix Far Oeste.
Morning: Señor Jones (4), Bernd (4, first pitch only), La roja quatro (3, we did this with minimal use of the hands), El endo (4),  non-route to the left of El endo (top-roped, probably a 5), La roja seis (5+, top roped), Hamma (4).
Afternoon: Ausgeschissn (4+), Gracias Uwa (4+, once each lead, once each top roped to practice the last bit), Pequeno Gecko (5, top-roped).

Andrea making her way up Gracias Uwa
Wednesday: climbing Sierra de Toix.
Morning: We planned to start with the multi-pitch Chabito in sector Toix Oeste, but we either both missed the first stand or the first pitch is much longer than expected. The book claims it's only 20m long, but our 60m rope was barely adequate (well, not really adequate) to cover it. After that surprise, we moved back to Toix Far Oeste and did: Asombroso (3+, minimal use of the hands), El endo (Andrea only), Bernd (4, both pitches). Andrea dropped her ATC before the last abseil, so after we both got down we spent a while searching (with help from a group of very nice Brits climbing next to us) before giving it up for lost.
Afternoon Routes in sector Toix TV Tropical Dreams: Gutzufuss (3+), Snadengrot (4). We both lead these and then we switch to top-rope to do some "flow" practice: climbing smoothly and quickly. Afterwards Greg (still very much in "flow mode") lead Verlassen + betrogen (4+). Andrea's feet were bothering her, so we called it a day after that. This was very nice afternoon's climbing with a delightful breeze to keep us cool.
Greg "flowing" up the Snadengrot
Thursday: climbing Sierra de Toix.
Morning: Routes in sector Toix Far Oeste. Ausgeschissn (4+), Gracias Uwa (4+, Greg only, to set up top-rope), Pequeno Gecko (5, both top-rope and both lead. Neither of us felt like doing the last tower again, so we cheated on that). El endo (4, both lead following the more difficult line, then both top-rope taking the kind-of-random, more difficult, not-route to the left of the real route). La roja seis (5+, both top and then both lead).
Afternoon Routes in sector Toix TV Tropical Dreams: Got a late start, so this was short. Andrea lead the first 3/4 of Verlassen + betrogen before getting frustrated and cold (it wasn't particularly sunny and was quite windy on the wall, yesterday's "delightful breeze" is stronger and colder) and coming down. Greg did that first 3/4 in top-rope and then lead the last bit. Andrea then top-roped the route. Gufelwufel (5, Andrea lead, Greg did it in top-rope but ended up frustrated after the first few meters and didn't enjoy it as much as he should have, Andrea top roped it again). Snadengrot (4, Greg lead and then did two quick flow practices).
Andrea on La roja seis
Friday: climbing Sierra de Toix.
Morning: Routes in sector Toix Far Oeste. Ocho fixe (4) then we left, because it was windy and not so warm (this cliff isn't in the sun in the morning).
Afternoon: Routes in sector Toix Far Oeste. Hamna (4, once each lead, once each top-roped with a shoulder-width strap attaching the back of the shoes, once each top-roped with an express attaching the back of the shoes... teeny steps!). La cagona (4+, Greg). La roja tres (5, Greg)

For the climbing we used Spain: Costa Blanca from Rockfax, that's the source of the sector names and route grades. We generally each lead climbed every route. Exceptions are noted above.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Davoser Spielwochenende

Two days of gaming in Davos. A large number of people and tons and tons of games. Big fun!

Some of the things we played:
  1. Guildhall (works well with 2)
  2. Libertalia (played with 5. have played this before at Tom's)
  3. Packet Row (fun with 4!)
  4. Töggeli-Trophy (silly, easy card game)
  5. Bang! The dice game (not particularly entertaining)
  6. Port Royal (was fun)
  7. Käse Würfeln (lightweight, silly)
  8. Love Letters (bad with two. Tom says it only works with four)
  9. Northwest passage (played this multiple times at Tom's. It's a good game)
  10. Pagoda (played with two, was fun and quite pretty)
  11. Tortuga (played with two, not so sure about this one)
  12. Azteka (played with three; more work than game)
  13. Nada! (reaction dice game; not so much)
  14. Game over ("Memory" with cute cards... not our kind of game)
  15. Kashgar Händler der Seidenstrasse (played with two... might be more fun after you've played a few times and know what the cards are)
  16. Han (played with two. This one is simple but needs to be played more than once to really get it)
  17. Voll Schaf (played with three... fast, interactive, and very fun).

Sunday, April 06, 2014

SAC Climbing Course 2014

We did the SAC Basel climbing course together again after a three year break (well, kind of: Andrea did it alone in 2012 and we bailed in 2013 because of rain).
It was essentially the same program as last time: Saturday at Pelzli and Sunday on the Arete de Raimeux.

Saturday we were in a group with one other student who also had some experience climbing, so we were able to skip the basics and start with multi-pitch techniques. We grotesquely exaggerated things and did two switches inside of two meters on Rechenschieber, good practice with someone watching on how to setup a stand. After a bit of practice setting nuts and friends we did lunch and then went back for more practice setting up a "stand" on Bimbo. From there we went to the Nase to do the long abseil practice (Andrea also took advantage of the zip line set up for the group of kids who were there). We closed by walking over to the Grosser Daumen where we climbed the Westkante route. We'd not been to this bit of Pelzli before, but we definitely need to go back: climbing a tower is excellent!

Sunday we did Raimeaux with the same small group: Andrea and I were one rope and the other two were the second rope. Lots of good practice doing multi-pitch here, particularly on the way up the initial section. This year we did something different and, instead of abseiling from the usual place we continued along the ridge. There were too many people to do much more real climbing (loooong waits), so we changed out of the climbing shoes and did the section with iron steps before just walking the rest in a mixture of ridge and forest walking. When we hit the real hiking path we turned down the hill and walked back into Moutier along a trail we've come up a couple of times.

Lots of good practice; we're feeling much more ready for a good climbing season. :-)