Siebe Vanhee | April and the unexpected journey…
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April and the unexpected journey…

April and the unexpected journey…

During the last two months I got to deal physically with some bad luck. After Siurana last winter I injured my wrist a little bit. I could keep on climbing but not at my normal level, bouldering I couldn’t do at all. When the pain in the wrist was almost gone my whole body was protesting me being an active Duracell bunny. Apparently I had a little virus and my immune system was kind of resisting fighting against a cold or a fever. This made me being tired really quick after a little climbing session or taking the bike to school. 
Those little things have been holding me from training and getting in good shape for my April-trip. This was kind of frustrating but I’m glad I’ve never been that sick I could not go on this trip. 
So now… what about this trip? Like every climber knows, meeting people and travelling is the best way to make new plans and discover new areas just from talking to other climbers. This is how it went for me for this April-trip. In Siurana I met Melissa Le Nevé, talking to her about some future plans and goals she told me full excitement she had a boyfriend at home who had similar plans as me but having a hard time to find a climbing partner. I decided to contact him so we could try and climb a little together. The guy I’m talking about is Jacopo Larcher, a young Italian climber full of motivation to try out unknown stuff and push his own limit in all disciplines in climbing. 
We quickly made some plans to meet each other. We decided to go climbing in April in Cadarese, Italy and Switserland so I bought my ticket to Innsbruck, Austria, where he and Melissa live. But the thing that can happen when you plan a trip happened, due to this crazy long and wet winter, Cadarese and our plans in Switserland were soaked! So we had to find some new plans right now. 
Enjoying the Innsbruck mountains. 

I still went to Innsbruck where we were forced to climb in the gym. A great training gym I would say, now I understand why all those strong competition climbers from Europe move over there. Besides that, even more important then the gym are the mountains. Apparently there is so much climbing, sport, trad, ski and alpinism around that town.

Climbing in the gym between all those top competition climbers was frustrating because of my bad shape but also motivating me to become better and start training more specifically next winter. 

The main wall of Cantobre

So the plans changed. We stayed two days in Innsbruck and then we drove towards Millau to watch Melissa compete at the bouldering worldcup this weekend. After the qualifications on Friday, Jacopo and I drove towards Cantobre, a small but beautiful climbing area 15 minutes away of Millau. Luckily the weather wasn’t so bad and the rock was dry. We were both so happy to just be outside and be able to climb a bit. Today the weather was too bad to go out in between the semi-finals and the finals.

Sunday evening Jacopo and I will move on towards Gorges du Verdon where the weather will be good … we hope! The Verdon is a famous valley with on both sides big rock faces of 250 to 300 meters. Climbing started here in the sixties when they used pitons and nuts to find their way up the high cliffs. First they just climbed routes on the faces where cracks could be found. But in the eighties sport climbing became popular and they started to rappel down the high cliffs and bolted routes on amazing vertical faces. Now hard routes have been climbed mostly on the upper part of the cliffs.

Les Gorges du Verdon

Our goal is to find some classic and exciting multi-pitches that start ground-up! Let’s respect the old school style! With tons of motivation and sweating hands I’m excited to do some multi-pitch climbing with Jacopo. 

After that Jacopo (who is also in The North Face team) and I will go towards Kalymnos, Greece. The plan is to bolt a new crag for the next ‘The North Face Kalymnos climbing festival’ in October. Thanks to Jacopo I will join the bolting team and open new sport lines at a complete virgin crag. With my bolting experience from last year at the Petzl bolting trip in Piedra Parada, Argentina, I’m psyched to open my eye on some new lines. 
But what is ‘The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival’
A picture from the festival of last year.

The festival is a place where climbers from all over the world can meet each other, climb together and enjoy the amazing atmosphere on the Greece Island. Each year The North Face searches for a new virgin crag and opens around 30 new routes with as main goal to leave a new crag behind for the Kalymnos climbing community. The festival is a combination between some friendly competitions like a marathon of climbing and a more pro comp where invited climbers try the new hard routes together. In the evening there is a lot of activities like lectures, movies, parties and concerts. Fun guaranteed! After bolting, I’m definitely psyched to go out there in October!

For more info, check the TNF website of last edition in 2012: The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2012

I’ll keep you up to date about our wet climbing activities in France right now! Hoping for good weather next week so we can crush some of the Verdon rock! 
Here you can find the places i’ll visit this April-trip 2013.

View April 2013 in a larger map 

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