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.


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.


Via Ferrata with Climbing Shoes

Today I tried a Via Ferrata with Climbing shoes. With a group we went to the Moléson which you see in the picture below. This mountain stands in the middle and has fantastic views on to Neuchatel, the Lac Leman, Bulle and more. The drawback is that this mountain is often in cloud due to its location and height.

Heading to Moléson
Heading to Moléson

If you’re still reading despite the mention of clouds then you will see that this is an enjoyable place to visit. It is located in Gruyère, known for its cheeses and the Giger Museum. I don’t think I have visited either of the two latter options. Climbing is more fun.

Today was different. I took the blue easy route and I wore climbing shoes rather than normal shoes because I wanted to see whether the experience was pleasant. At first it was worthless to have these shoes on because of the mud and humidity. They did become more fun as we climbed. The person in front of me was a novice at Via Ferrata so she was fighting for the courage to move onwards and upwards. This gave me plenty of time to get as much contact with the rock as possible. I focused on using the natural rock as foot holds as much as possible and I even tried to use the rock as hand holds. My reservation about safety meant that I did not want to fall with via ferrata gear.

The rock on this via ferrata is perfectly adapted to rock climbing shoes when it is drier. The rock is friable and this provides justification for climbing shoes. Rather than two or three foot holds that you can use with hiking boots (which I usually use) I used slivers and cracks of rocks. I tried not to “felix the cat” too often. That is a term a climbing instructor used South of the Alps when I took climbing lessons and as I like the term I share it.

I have been practicing via ferrata for five years now and I have explored almost all via ferrata within a two hour drive multiple times. As a result I know that I can do them and I know what to expect. This means that I can be generous and climb last. I can help novices and beginners experience the sport for the first time and through experiments such as climbing shoes on a via ferrata I keep myself entertained. Leukerbad and other such via ferrata would be interesting with climbing shoes because of the rock type. They are not essential and I did this out of good humour. I was perfectly happy using hiking boots for the first five years.

And now for desert, a view from the top.

Images from the Via Ferrata de Lavanchy

Despite the warning that rain would fall after 1700 today we went up to explore the Via Ferrata De Lavanchy. it is a via ferrata that requires a 45 minute walk up hill. You walk up towards a cirque and then turn left and continue upwards through some trees. When you get close to the base of the cliff walk straight up to get to the base of the via ferrata. The via ferrata is simple and short.

Autostitch for the Iphone

Port de Nyon

Port of Nyon in Winter

The picture above was done with an iphone and the autostitch application. To produce this type of photograph the process is simple. You take a series of pictures with the Iphone camera before going to the autostitch application. You select the photographs that you want stitched together and click the stitch button. The application will then find objects within the photograph before combining them into one panoramic shot.

Once the image is processed you have the option of either saving the picture as it is or cropping it to remove the edges hence giving this type of result.

Ten Days without Twitter

There is a video of me at the only Twestival event I have ever been to and I lay into the event for the fashionistas that attended the event. I was so disappointed with the event as a whole that I have lost my passion for going to social media events, especially when I need to travel over a thousand kilometers.

Environmental conscience is one good reason for not travelling to these events but the second is the quality of the people there. When I talked to people at the Twestival event and asked them about twitter they looked at me strangely, when I asked them about how many tweets they had written they told me from five to two hundred on average.

As a passionate twitter user and having been to a lot of social media events, tweetups and seesmeetups this really dissapointed me. The event felt like nothing more than a facade, nothing more than an opportunity for people to say “look at how trendy I am, I’m on twitter” yet not understanding anything about the ethos of the twitter way of life.

I love twitter, and I love those that use it well, I love how certain people use it the same way they use sms and other social means. I don’t like that in Switzerland I’m strange because I use twitter. I like it even less that over here twitter will never be popular. There is no reason for it because of social cohesion, but also a far smaller community.

Switzerland is about skiing, sailing, cycling, hiking, parapente and more sports. We’re not in a city. We’re in the countryside, Europe’s playground. Why be geeky when sports would be more social. More to the point everything is current. I don’t need to wait two to five years for people to adopt the sports.

That’s why I’m coming back to Twitter on Valentine’s day. (It’s also the day I got my driving licence ;-))

Geneva Tweetup during the LIFT09 Conference – Who’s Interested?

One of my biggest frustrations at the moment as a user of twitter is that I can’t meet with the people I chat with on a regular basis. As a result of this I am trying to find as many Geneva based twitter users as possible to organise a tweetup.

There are two options, the first is to do it at the same time as twestival but that is one event that I personally want to have nothing to do with. I was disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm that people at that event had for twitter. As a result I would prefer not to repeat that experience.

What has been suggested by Sandrine is a tweetup at the same time as the LIFT09 conference is taking place in Geneva.

For those that are not familiar with LIFT09:

Lift09 (Geneva, 25-27 Feb. 09) will look back to look ahead, exploring topics like change, solidarity, love, or design, during three days of intense networking and inspiration themed around a simple question: “Where did the future go?”

This means that quite a number of the social media scene, innovators and more should be present. As a result it will be more practical for those living in other cities.

At the same time Geneva is an international city. From the airport down to the Palais Wilson on one side and the UN plage on the other you have a multitude of International organisations. It would be an interesting opportunity to see how the International community could use and take advantage of such a simple yet ubiquitous form of communication.

Geneva based twitter users.

If you’re interested in this event just leave a comment below with your twitter username and let’s see what we can organise. You may also want to join the Switzerland tweetup group on facebook

Seesmic from the mountains (via QIK)

Whilst the connection is unstable and slow I decided to take the phone and Qik some landscapes from La Dole in Switzerland. Here are a few streams. As more people enjoy streaming live video from interesting locations so this will become a more common site.

What I hope to do next is go to some of the higher peaks and stream from there too. Overtime we could have a nice collection of footage.