Climbing in Bramois

Climbing in Bramois is a pleasant and practical experience. This is a climbing area with numerous walls and routes. There are single and multipitch routes ranging from 3-4 up to 7 and 8. The climbing area is within a gorge with nice rock on both side and a river running through the middle.  This area has over 150 routes from which for you to choose from. The routes vary in length from 10-40 metres for single pitch routes.

When I was there I climbed around the Africa wall. There are quite a few 5a and above routes. Some of these routes are more instinctive than others. There is one particular route where we had a tendency within the group to go too far too the right and then had to go left and then make it up to a crack. Once the complicated bit was negotiated the rest of the climb was easy. I am still getting used to climbing on rock rather than on an artificial wall or via ferrata.

I later went to another wall a few minutes walk away and that climb was more interesting because it was up a chimney and some bits were mild overhangs that could be negotiated with observation. That wall was fun to climb.

For more information about the climbing walls you can visit this site. The advantage of this climbing area is that multiple groups can be present at once and climb without getting in each others way. You have a variety of climbing routes and experiences and getting around is easy if you don’t mind walking up and down short trails. I will be tempted to climb around this area many more times in future. The climbing season is coming to an end for this year but I do plan on climbing here again next year. With the people whom I drove to the site we climbed until the sun had left the valley.

Admiring the Tour D’Aï from the Via Ferrata de la Cascade

The weather was clear so I was admiring the Tour D’Aï from the Via Ferrata de La Cascade. I was in Les Diablerets as I am one of the volunteers at the FIFAD film festival. I turned up three hours before I was needed and as I had all my climbing gear, except the pulley for the tyrollean in the car I drive I was able to put on my climbing gear and go for an individual climb of the Via Ferrata. The weather was nice, the temperature was comfortable and the via ferrata was quiet. Aside from two guys climbing one of the climbing routes I was alone. I prefer to climb with others.

Via Ferrata de La Cascade
Via Ferrata de La Cascade

Via ferrata alone are fun because you go at your speed. There is no need to wait for anyone or rush to keep up. I enjoyed how clear the landscape was. I looked across the valley and I could clearly see the Tour D’Aï and the peak next to it. It is the first time that I notice so clearly the other Via Ferrata.

The Tour D'aï seen from Les Diablerets
The Tour D’aï seen from Les Diablerets

When you climb the Tour D’aï via ferrata you climb from the other side and go to the summit of the peak on the left. When you walk down you walk on that green part. The trail is an alpine one, for experienced hikers. You see that there is quite a drop if you make a mistake. You normally see this mountain from the Leysin side.

The Tour D'aï seen from Les Diablerets
The Tour D’aï seen from Les Diablerets

This image shows the Tour D’Aï in relation to other mountains. When you go to Les Diablerets this image will help you locate the peaks. The shape of that mountain is easy to recognise.

We will see when I try the Rocher Jaune. That via ferrata is higher up starting at 2400 metres and ending at 2450 meters according to one source.

 

Getting Up Getu – some impressive shots

Getting up Getu is short documentary climbing video about Alex Honnold and Felipe Camargo climbing a beautiful roof climb. The most spectacular aspect of this video is the size of the arch that they are climbing. In two or three shots you see the size of the rock formations compared to the climbers. The people look tiny.

The rock formations that droop down from the ceiling look interesting. The climbing at this location ranges from 5a to 9c according to one source I skimmed through. There are 250 routes to choose from so this is ideal for a great number of climbers. This was the 2011 location for the Pezl Roctrip.

Getu looks like a beautiful area in china with interesting rock formations, arches and much more. The video below provides you with a glimpse of what else there is to see in this region. It is in the Guizhou province of china and the nearby city is Anshun.

Getu, China from Ryan Deboodt on Vimeo.

It’s kind of like one big double-edged Jian. On the one hand, the country is somewhat of a political and economic threat to the United States and our international prosperity. But on the other, it has the Getu Valley, a dramatic stomping ground of limestone cliffs and arch formations that promise to enrapture even the most seasoned spidermen and monkey boys.

Source: Travelmint.com

According to a CNN article climbers have been enjoying this location for generations. As I explored this topic further, to find video or more detailed information I came across this:

Dangling from slippery cave walls 100 meters up from the floor below, Luo Dengping maneuvers across the steep rocks and crags in a dramatic high-wire climbing act to the amazement of spectators below.

Luo, known locally as “Spiderwoman”, is the only female member of a troupe of climbers who entertain visitors to the Getu River Scenic area in Guizhou, with their death-defying acts of high-altitude bravery on a daily basis. Source

If I find some videos of traditional climbing from this site I will share them at a later date.

 

“Superhuman” Climbers

A few days ago the Rio Paralympics “We’re The Superhumans” video popped in to my newsfeed on Facebook and I eventually watched it. The moment that most impressed me is the olympic athlete climbing 2 minutes 20 in. He is dynamic in his climbing technique despite not having any hands. As a climber those two or three shots impressed me and it encouraged me to look for more such climbing videos. They are interesting. It is nice to see climbers take their passion to the next level.

I often think that climbing is a mental game. Most of us have to overcome our fear of heights and we need to learn to read the climbing wall, hand holds and foot holds to climb up as elegantly as possible and without getting tired. Overcoming that fear of heights takes exposure. The more you climb the more you get to grips with the feeling of being high off the ground. You also learn to trust yourself and your equipment. That trust allows you to see opportunities and use them. David Bowes was injured in a road traffic accident while commuting one day. In the clip below he says that despite not always enjoying the moments when he is climbing he always feels better when he gets home and that this is why he climbs.

In the third video we see that climbing is not limited to people who want to become world class athletes. We see that climbing is for people who simply want to work on their self confidence. They overcome their disabilities, feel pride and build their confidence. Every one of us gains by climbing.

We see that some people climb with prosthetics and that others are climbing using just their arms. In other cases people are using artificial limbs to get up the wall. We see that some people with one arm lever their body in to a stable position that lasts just long enough to let go of one hand hold and grab on to the next one. It is enjoyable to see how much ingenuity goes in to climbing.

As we see in the final video some groups want to provide people with the opportunity to climb at least once and to reach the top of the wall. Whether they become passionate about the sport or not is not what matters. What matters is that they get a sense of accomplishment, of setting and reaching that goal. These videos are empowering as we see that anyone with

 

Climbing Photography – for when other routes are too wet.

I have been climbing outdoors for five to six years and during this time I have enjoyed both climbing photography and taking video. The two biggest challenges I face are how to keep myself in place and how to be confident that I will stay where I am. This requires trusting the climbing harness, the little cow (petite vache) and other safety equipment.

Climbing Photography
Climbing Photography

Yesterday with the group I climb with every thursday we went outside towards the St Loup climbing route. As it had rained recently many of the climbing routes were wet and slippery. When I put my foot down I felt that it was not going to hold if I continued to climb and so I said to a fellow climber whom I know from my diving days that if this was a dive I would call it. I would abort it.

I took advantage of this situation to climb where a top rope had been placed and then secured myself about three quarters of the way up the route on a ledge. From this vantage point both my hands were free so if I had taken my main video camera or DSLR photo camera I could have had some nice footage of group members climbing up this route. As the sun was setting the shutter speed was slow. I did manage to get a few good images nonetheless. With the flash the images look as if they’re from a caving trip rather than climbing.

If the weather is good on Sunday I should be able to practice more of these skills in an old quarry where climbing routes are set up. It’s easy to get images from the ground but to get images from the climber’s eye level or above is more of a challenge. I will have fun practicing this skill.

IFSC Climbing World Cup Villars 2016

I will be present at the IFSC Climbing World Cup Villars tomorrow. For me climbing has always been an active rather than a passive sport. It has been a sport where the landscape is nice and the crowds are small. Tomorrow will be the first time that I go and watch as other people climb.

It’s not that I don’t watch people climb. Between climbing gyms, bouldering gyms, via ferrata and Rock climbing it is a sport that I have explored in depth. What I haven’t explored in depth is climbing with an audience, climbing as an event, climbing as a competition.

Program

Friday 15th July
9.00 – 16.00 Men & Women’s lead qualifications
17.00 – 19.00 Men & Women’s speed qualifications
21.00 Speed Finals Women & Men (LIVE)
22.00 Award Ceremony (LIVE)

Saturday 16th July
10.00 – 12.30 Lead Semi-Finals Men & Women (LIVE)
20.00 Men lead Finals (LIVE)
21.00 Women lead Finals (LIVE)
22.00 Award Ceremony (LIVE)

Instinct tells me that lead climbing should be the more interesting discipline as it relates directly to the climbing I do. Speed climbing could be fun and interesting to watch but it has less practical applications in ordinary climbing life. If I want to be lazy then I could go up on Saturday and stop asking questions.

On Saturday from 1300 to 1600 there is the concours populaire, That’s when amateurs can try their hand at speed climbing.

Program of the event
Program of the event

Villars Sur Ollon is a place that I have visited a number of times but for once we should be welcomed by summer rather than winter temperatures. It will also be for climbing rather than skiing, hiking or après ski. I will take pictures and let you know what the experience is like. It’s nice after organising satellite distribution for sporting events finally to go on location. We’ll see how energetic the crowd is.

 

Vlogging on a Via Ferrata with the Theta S

Vlogging on a Via Ferrata with the Theta S by Ricoh is not only feasible but interesting. Earlier today I went to the Via Ferrata du Fort L’écluse in the French Region of Ain. This Via Ferrata goes long the nice rock face next to the climb. The purpose of this video is to bring you with me so that you can experience the sounds of Via Ferrata without the climbing experience or a head for heights.

The Theta S by Ricoh is a 360° camera with two lenses. One lens is looking at the person taking video and the other lens looks at what the holder of the camera sees. When the two signals are combined you can export the video as a 360 video to be shared.

The device has a mini HDMI out, a USB port, enough memory for 45 minutes of video at 1920X1080 with a 30FPS shooting range. It is currently one of the more affordable and intuitive devices to use. You can keep it with you at all times and getting material ready for editing takes seconds. The beauty of such a simple and light solution is that it allows for a very quick turnaround time.

You can review the footage instantly
Reviewing footage is simple and intuitive

I was hanging off a cliff when I was taking my videos today but if you’re a normal person you will probably be sitting in a café or some stairs to review the footage. When device wifi is activated and when you download the app you can use your phone as a remote to take videos or pictures and even to watch back the video you have taken in 360° vision. If you’re not happy with the shot then you can repeat it until you are happy. This system is a simple, elegant and all in one solution that is quick and intuitive to use.

 

Totem Escalade – Bouldering in Gland

The three common forms of climbing are Rock, climbing, via ferrata and bouldering. Rock climbing is an excellent and amusing sport that requires living in the right place, having the right equipment and knowing the right people. I enjoy the sport but have not found a group to go with. Via Ferrata as I love to call it is Rock climbing for tourists. The equipments and routes are set out and prepared so that those with the correct experience, head for heights and equipments can explore the landscape in an interesting and dynamic fashion. The last of these is bouldering. Bouldering is a form of climbing without ropes. In the wild it requires finding a bit of rock and studying the rock to find a route.

On Sunday I noticed on Facebook that a new indoor climbing place was opening in Gland. Totem Escalade is an indoor bouldering place where you can practice climbing indoors. As autumn and winter approach this is welcome. It is based by the bowling in Gland, next to where a night club used to be. It has a central structure off which are four climbing surfaces with coloured paper to mark the grade of the climbs. As you progress you can attempt harder and harder routes.

Bouldering is physically demanding and develops upper body strength. You need to use your arms, fingers and back muscles to hold on and make progress along the route you have chosen. As you try a number of routes a number of times so your strength will begin to fade. After two hours of enjoyment my hand muscles were done. I can still feel them as I write this blog post.

I love that a climbing wall is so close to Nyon. For years I have been looking for this. Now that I know about this climbing wall I will be a frequent visitor. I want to improve my technique and I want to increase my strength so that for the next via ferrata season I will be that much more comfortable.