Showing posts from 2019

The Finnish Climbing Season Peaks In The Autumn

As a Finnish climber I love Finland and all the wonderful cliffs and boulders we have hidden in the woods here. But let's be honest: climbing season is short in Finland. Some devoted climbers might get a few outdoor sessions even in the winter, but early autumn is definitely more enjoyable for a rock climbing tourist.

If you decide to visit Finland and want to get as much as possible out of your climbing holiday, I'd say book your flights to Helsinki in August or September. Why? For two reasons: precipitation and temperature. Statistics show, that precipitation in all of Finland drops dramatically towards the end of August, while average temperature is still above 10 ℃. Considering these two facts, the last weeks of August and first weeks of September are best suited for visiting multiple cliffs without knowing much of their conditions beforehand.

Precipitation is an important factor, because some of our finest overhangs are shady and tend to drip long after rain. Lammi, Falkb…

Avalonia Is Every Bouldering Climber's Sanctuary In Germany

Are you one of those North-European cimbers, who escape the cold and drive to the sunny Spanish cliffs for the winter? Or perhaps you are on your way back to enjoy the short northern climbing season? If you happen to travel through Germany, spend a day or two bouldering at the unbelievable Avalonia.

Me and T stopped there for a few days as we drove towards Sweden from Fontainebleau. A tip from two German friends led us to this rare find – one of the few good bouldering areas between Font and North Europe.

Don't get me wrong, though! Avalonia can't be compared to Fontainebleau. It's is a place to make a short pitstop driving to or from Fontainebleau and as such, Avalonia serves well. Easy access and convenient location near the huge highways and a couple of campsites make Avalonia almost perfect sanctuary for a travelling climber tired of driving.
The shady forest with many caves and overhangs offers some solid entertainment across the grades. As long as you know your hooks…

First Two Touches to Bouldering in Fontainebleau, France

What does a circuit or a hiking trail mean in terms of bouldering? These are the two things I learned while bouldering in the fabulous Fontainebleau – a French forest, that treasures dozens of these mysterious circuits and so called hiking trails.

Before diving deeper into the terminology, let me tell you a bit about climbing in Fontainebleau in general. Why is the place so popular among climbers all over the Europe?
Well, there are of course many reasons. First of all, the forest of Fontainebleau is huge and hosts a massive amount of world class sandstone blocks. Altogether the area covers around 280 square kilometers and according to 27 Crags there are over 11700 known boulder problems. Fontainebleau offers wonderful climbing (in the form of circuits and hiking trails!) for everyone from total beginners to professionals.

Landings are also good: soft and flat. At some sectors the terrain is almost beachlike, because of the fine yellow sand, that finds it's way everywhere. This ma…

Slippery Bouldering At Casteljau, France

Truth being told, I can't recommend anyone in their right mind bouldering at Casteljau, France. Me and T stopped there for a couple of days on our way from Spain to Fontainebleau only to notice, that the area is almost abandoned by climbers.

To our disappointment, many boulders at Casteljau are nowadays taken over by green mosh. Only a small part of the almost 500 boulders can be climbed without doing some heavy brushing first. On top of that, the gray limestone is also super slippery, which is why we didn't feel like bothering with the brushes so much.

There are plenty of circuits, though. If you don't mind the vegetation and slippery rock, you can choose a circuit of any level of difficulty and spend ages climbing in the silent forest near Gorges du Tarn
For me, the low traversing problems offered the most fun. As soon as I buried the thoughts of climbing anything gradewise hard or higher than two meters, my eyes opened to a whole bunch of interesting lines squirming f…

3 Places To Go Bouldering Near Barcelona, Spain

Are you on a road trip or holiday in Spain and looking for good places to go bouldering near Barcelona? In that case I can recommend three fields of rocks worth checking out: El Cogul, Savassona and Can Boquet. They provide an excellent escape from the bustling city for a day or two, but without having having to sit in the car for more than a couple of hours.

What's best is, that bouldering near Barcelona is more or less possible throughout the winter. While we visited the Catalonian boulders in April on our way from Alcañiz to Fontainebleau, you might as well get some climbing done even during the coldest months of the year.
Let me share you our experiences on bouldering at El Cogul, Savassona and Can Boquet! El Cogul
Starting from the blocks closest to Alcañiz, El Cogul is a sunny hillside about 160 km West from Barcelona. There are several sectors, which are all scattered along a single road roaming the outscirts of the village El Cogul.
The first sectors are easy to spot even …

6 Weeks Of Bouldering In Alcañiz, Spain: Part 2

I'm writing this as me and T are finally driving away from Alcañiz. In the end we spent two whole months bouldering in Alcañiz and I have to say, leaving those magnificent sandstone blocks behind makes me feel blue.
The peaceful hills crusted with an endless amount of brushed and unbrushed boulders, stable weather and the small, but lively town definitely gets a grip of you.
As promised in my previous post about bouldering in Alcañiz, I'll now share some practical tips to make your climbing holiday even more enjoyable. In this post I'm going to concentrate on what you should pack in your backpack, camping in Alcañiz as well as where to get food, water and a decent meal after grinding on the smooth Spanish rock. Crash Pads, Shoes, Chalk... What Do You Need And Where To Get It? When you're about to go bouldering in Alcañiz, make sure to take plenty of everything from home. There is no real climbing shop in Alcañiz, altough chalk and brushes can be found from local shops.

6 Weeks Of Bouldering In Alcañiz, Spain: Best Sectors and Other Useful Tips

My fingertips feel a bit sore while typing this post, since me and T have now spent 6 weeks bouldering in Alcañiz. In case you haven't hear of the place, Alcañiz is located roughly 200 km from the famous Albarracín and offers you hundreds of boulder problems away from the masses.

Hills and valleys surrounding the town of Alcañiz are a home for legions of liquorice ice cream colored boulders, that vary both in shape and how easy (or hard) they are to grasp.
Yellow roofs, deep hollows and pockets in contrast with black, smooth slabs... Oh, and plenty of problems made for honing on your manteling skills! All on sandstone, that provides an excellent friction from autumn to spring.

There's so much I want to tell you about bouldering in Alcañiz, that I decided to share it into two individual posts. This time I'm going to get you started and concentrate on the climbing itself, whereas in the next post I will reveal some other useful tips for anyone planning to go bouldering in Al…

Sport Climbing Near Valencia, Spain: Montesa

The municipality of Montesa near Valencia hosts a unique little crag with easy approach and enjoyable sport routes for beginners and intermediate climbers. In case you're up for a pit stop between El Chorro and Chulilla, climbing at Montesa offers fun for a day or two in the middle of Spanish winter.

Montesa is especially great, if you happen to travel with climbing kids. There's plenty of indoorsy sport routes around and below 6a, that seem to offer much joy for young climbers. Tougher routes do exist, but Montesa might not be the best crag for pushing your limits over 6c.

Routes at Montesa are of high quality and rock feels careless to climb. The bulgy formations behind the castle of Montesa remind me of Elbsandstein sand stone pillars, but in fact they are limestone. Curvaceous yellow and black shapes treasure plenty of jugs and pockets for those, who dare to challenge the odd looking rock.
According to Rockfax: Costa Blanca, the cruxy Ningún Drama (7a) is one of the top 50…

Sport Climbing Near Valencia, Spain: Bellús and Aventador

Have you had enough of climbing in Chulilla? If you're up for some driving, the surroundings of Valencia also host many small to medium-sized crags well worth visiting – Bellús and Aventador to name a few.

Bellús While Bellús is nowhere near as big as the Goliath on everybody's lips, the steep limestone walls with closely packed routes offer plenty of great climbing above 6a. If you're able to climb 7a, you'll have even more fun climbing at Béllus.

The crag is divided into two separate areas. Barranc Fondo is the sunny south face and makes a fine winter crag, whereas the north face known as L'Altet is more suitable for hot days in spring or autumn.

The wall is more or less overhanging on both sides of the hill. However, l'Altet features a couple of tufa infested caves or cuevas with routes for highly motivated climbers. Barranc Fondo is a bit easier to approach and has more basic holds.

If you like both sun and tufas, try Moco de Pavo (7a)!
To balance the steep…

What Could Go Wrong? 7 Nasty Surprises At a Crag

If you're travelling and climbing, new crags don't always meet your expectations. It happens every once in a while, if you tend to go for smaller and less climbed places, but it's not that uncommon to confront problems at bigger cliffs either.

Let me share you some of the worst let-downs me and T have experienced before and during our road trip in Europe. My intention is to give you a good chuckle as well as a heads up of what to look out for at an unfamiliar crag. There Is No Crag Yes, it can happen. We've stepped into this mine at least once in Bolonia, Spain. It was in January last year, when me and T escaped a few chilly nights from El Chorro and decided to go bouldering in Bolonia.
After circling around the coastline near Tarifa without any sign of the promised boulders, we gave up. Luckily a few day's of climbing in San Bartolo offered enough exercise until the weather got warmer again in El Chorro. To this day, it's still a mystery to us whether there i…