|31 October 2011|
The morning of our departure was pretty hectic, the bed still wasnt fitted and that was my job...being a man, Kelly packed everything apart from the biking box...which i messed up. She did very well. We missed the 11 oclock estimated departure by 5 hours but managed to get dinner at my Grandparents on the way down. After spending the night in Reading we headed to Folkstone to board the Train.
From Calais we went cross country, litrally, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France (again) and into Switzerland. We met Leo and Sian and spent the next day climbing (like a Giraffe in my case) and travelling to Pila.
In Pila we met the Kendells, who I had met the previous year in the Pyrenees and are a lovely family ;-). I had expected that 1 day of downhill biking would have been enough for Kelly and then a day of cross country would have been perfect. It turns out Kelly rather likes downhilling...so we decided to continue on with Leo, Sian, Mali, Justin, Rhian, Siony, Tesels, Mel and Evi for some more biking in Tignes.
Leo, Kelly and I went climbing, Kelly and Leo did most of the climbing after Leo Stitched me up with a shocking first route. Justin took the girls (seperately) to do some Via Ferrata, they both did extremeley well apparently. When we all met back at the vans Justin suggested a quick blast around the other via ferrata, I hadn't done it before so I was keen, everyone else went to the local pool. A cracking route and I was keen for more. The next day saw Justin and Leo head to Tignes where the lifts are FREE( 5euro deposit pp) this year, and Kelly and I spent the morning doing the rest of the via ferrata the girls had started and YES the girls did do VERY well. The 3rd part of the route is 'the hardest route in France' and yeah it had some pretty exciting sections and was fairly long. We then joined the biking boys, did a couple of routes to get into it and then headed off down a harder (for us) route. Kelly was flying so I let her go ahead whilst I took some photos, I jumped back on and normally its not too long before I catch her back up...not this time she was gone so I started to chase her down, once I was about 10metres behind I sat in and followed, she was flying with a huge smile on her face, a warning sign flashed by followed by 2 swooping switchbacks on loose stoney ground, skidding sound followed by yelp, followed by silence...not me this time, Kelly. She didnt respond to my first couple of calls, not good, then she kinda mummered something and got up holding back, side, knee, ankle and the smile had gone. We headed down steadily, got Kelly cleaned up and set off to go beck up... I discoverd my brakes are a little bust up and Kelly discovers the lifts have shut, 5 o'clock already. Justing and leo met up with Kelly whilst I wondered around trying to find them. All was well and on to Valloire tomorrow.
En-route to Valloire, Justin, Sian and Sionad on a Via ferrata that finished by climbing the castle wall and through a window, Tesni and Rhian toured the castles whilst Leo Kelly and I went ... CLIMBING...it was bloody hot but I did manage to climb a 6a+ which was an achievement based on recent form. After a scenic tour of the village we set up in a carpark by a river, its turns out a very cold river.
Leo was keen and left early for biking, Justin left to join him a little later whilst Kelly and I arranged to take the girls climbing after they had been shopping for the morning, we headed off to go climbing on the crag over looking Valloire. A good crag with some interesting climbs. During the morning we saw the Gendarmeries 4x4 vehicle racing around looking a little lost, I thought to myself that someone might have had an off on the VTT. It turned out they had, Justin. We went back to the van unaware of the goings on to find the Kendells van had disappeared, odd considering Rhian doesn't drive it. Immediately we felt something was wrong, I then had a series of texts and missed calls from Leo as we got signal...something was wasnt right. When we got in touch we found that Justin had come off (not badly) and had gone to hospital with a suspected broken leg. I then had to find Sian who had gone for run...almost to the top of the Galibier...an impressive feat. Sian headed straight down to the hospital and meet with Leo to find somewhere to stay for the night for the girls and Rhian...It turned out that the injury was worse than expected and several nights in hospital were needed before he could be 'shipped' home. We headed down to the hospital to say hello once everything had sunk in a little and then headed off to the campsite (the only campsite of the trip). We had an amazing BBQ which
The next day we took the girls climbing which i think they really enjoyed, although they were still understandably concerned about Dad. We headed back to the hospital said our farewells to the Justin before spending the night at the bottom of the crag. The morning came and we left for the last part of our trip, Climbing in Ailefroide. We arrived just after 2 and decided that we had time for a quick route, a 6 pitch 200metre, mostly 5a pitches with a final 5c pitch.An excellent start to the week we had left. We managed to get 4 more routes including a 16pitch 500m 5c route. It was an impressive place and somewhere I could easily go and spend the etire trip there.
We decided that we would try to avoid the tolls on the way back and stop off at a couple of crags ont he way back...as we descended out of the mountains the tempreture climb, we struggled up and climb near La Grave and then bailed on climbing the next route, it felt like being in a sauna. That evening we poottled back towards Calais and made good progress. The next day was spent driving and we ended up getting the train back that night.
Cant wait for next time. Thank you all.