Chamonix – a scary, but wonderful place!

Wow, what an experience!!
I’ve been back from Chamonix with a little over a week and this is the first time I’ve had to reflect on what a great trip it was.
However, I will start this post with a bit of a warning.
It is interesting to see the experiences of well known climbers such as Sasha DiGiulian and Carlo Traversi and will be good to see how Caroline Ciavaldini finds it too, but alpine climbing is a BIG adventure!
The multi-pitch routes are bold and scary! I’d advise people to ignore the grades, leave their egos at home and just take it step by step. The French are strong and bold (or something like that anyway?).
Quite often we found ourselves with loose blocks surrounding us, bits of crappy tat and some huge runouts (10+m). It wasn’t just the trad climbing either. The multi-pitch sport routes had a bolt here and there, but not what someone operating at the grades would expect…scary indeed. We saw people operating at their limits and they were having a super tough time.
I admit, I am mainly a sport climber and boulderer, but have done plenty of trad too. I am new to alpine climbing and it was well out of my comfort zone, but what a learning experience.
I found myself doing what I tell myself and my clients not to do: worrying about clipping, locking off to clip as high as possible, holding my breath, over-gripping…man I was papping myself!
However, after a few days, you start to get used to the experience, the exposure, the runouts and you can enjoy the environment.
Once you do this, you can really appreciate how cool the outdoor industry really is. We would be climbing and look out to see mountain bikers, kayakers, trail runners and mountaineers well below 30+ paragliders.
Suddenly you’d hear the screams and whoops of the base jumpers and wingsuit flyers jumping over your head…
I loved it.
I’ve learnt a lot from it and hopefully it will make me a better climber as a result.
Until next time Chamonix!!!
As usual, thanks to Lyon Outdoor for all of the equipment. It really did make me feel safe! Crimp for keeping me warm and Climbskin for keeping my skin in good condition!
PowerFingers La Sportiva Petzl
DarkVentures Ltd – for providing all of the Climbskin products, thanks Pat!chaminx22

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