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Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

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European Sport Climbing Extravaganza
10:23:30 PM
Hi everyone!

Sorry the trip reports are a bit sparse... internet access involves a bit of a drive in the Frankenjura so I didn't bother.

OK so I think it was last Monday that we left Font. I don't think I have yet mentioned that we have two CB radios which are proving very useful for keeping the two cars in contact with each other. We left Font with Lee driving in my car as I recall. Then someone else had a drive, and then it was my turn to get us across the border. Everything is so confusing that you just do whatever the designated navigator says. Turn left here into a wall of traffic? OK, I'll do it. Shortly after my driving stint had begun (prior to this I'd only done a practice lap around the little town near Font), I was changing lanes and merging etc, only to hear the most frightening statement coming across the CB from Car Number 1: "We are now on the Autobahn". It would be fair to say that everyone saw the whites of my eyes, a sturdy grip on the steering wheel, my shoulders go up, and a very loud swear word. Everyone in the car kept screaming at me to speed up so we didn't lose sight of car number 1, and I basically stressed a whole lot.

Our first night in Germany was spent in a very dodgy caravan park. However, I was at last starting to feel a little more at home on the trip, as we'd crossed into a country where I understood some of the language. When we were checking in, someone asked the reception lady if she spoke English. She responded with a very harsh "NEIN" and that was that. I reminded the group that I spoke a little German, and I was immediately shoved to the front of the pack to deal with the proceedings. Anyway, we managed to check in, but only stayed because it was for one night. It looked very dodgy. It was suggested that if any of us ladies on the trip should need to visit the amenities during the night, then we should most certainly wake one of the boys to escort us. The place literally looked like something out of a horror movie, and Samantha says there was a prostitute working the toilet block.

The next morning, Kathy and Neil were keen to look at a castle, and Lee and I fiercely refused. So it was decided that Lee and I would head straight for the Frankenjura in one car, and that everyone else would go to the castle, and meet us at the Frankenjura. Surprisingly, noone saw the flaw in this plan: Lee and I are the worst Navigators the trip has to offer. We took pretty much every incorrect exit that we could.... eventually arriving at the Frankenjura only perhaps an hour before the others. The climbing that was literally 30 paces from the tent looked a tad polished, so we scooted across the road to sample the climbing there, and got a rude shock. Yes kiddies, we were experiencing our very first limestone. The equivalent of Australian grade 18 was a little bit committing that day. I reserved some serious concerns about being able to report home anything good about our climbing performance here! Anyway, we visited a bunch of crags over a succession of around 5 days. I tore a monster flapper, and Neil and Lee thrashed their fingers on day 2, calling for a trial of "Hoofmaker". We have all had to put up with Neil making clip-clop noises ever since. Neil and Lee focussed on becoming masters of grade 23-24, while I concentrated on learning the necessary footwork and fancy underclinging on limestone around grade 21-22. Got tired of this on the last day and had a crack at a 9/9+ which is apparently grade 28. Sussed all the moves and came nice and close to same-day tickage with a fall on the second last hold on my final attempt for the day. The next day we left Frankenjura so no opportunity for another crack. Such is the nature of a road trip. I will report that the Germans are a little confused as to who on earth we are. We turn up to crags with three photographers with massive lenses. Everyone assumes we must be world famous climbers or something, and come to watch. They end up with some confused looks on their faces :-)

So we are now in expensive Switzerland and I have run out of Swiss Franks. Thus this trip report must end. We will probably head to Chamonix this morning. As we speak, Neil and Marty are indulging in some crazy training mission, on a 2hr walk up the base of the North Face of the Eiger. We sat around eating yummy food instead.

Gotta go... computer is beeping at me

lots a luv

12:09:22 AM
Awesome reports Jac, it certainly reinstates my urge to head over there and soon! As it prob does with most of us here in melb..and keep those amusing anecdotes coming and some pics would be nice.. any of u uploading them onto the net?
mikl law
1:29:28 AM
My take on roadtripping is to only get on routes you should be able to flash. In fact you genrally don't actually flash, and will need another shot, but working things on a road trip is a pain unless you're really inspred (or at Ceusse).

There are some sharp pockets at The Frank eh. All the 9's I did there were over 35m high (I even flashed one, so it must have been soft), anything shorter was out of the question.

I think the other thing about trying harder routes OS is that in OZ you generally know a lot more about routes, what they are like, who's done them, whether they'll suit you etc. When you're on the road it's just random. Thank god for soft grades, bolts,and lots of chalk. On limestone I got adept at reading the thumb spots above holes which indicate which way the sidepull or undercling needs to be taken.
7:44:48 AM
Hi again,

We're now in Chamonix, and I've found a really awesome place to use the internet. I'm in a pub in a weird little street, with a keyboard that is pretty similar to an Australian one, so touch typing is possible... and I don't have to keep frantically stuffing coins into a paybox. I just pay for the time I've been here. Yay!

It's cold here - only 10 degrees. Neil and Marty will commence their mission on Mt Blanc tomorrow while the rest of us go in search of dry rock.

Some interesting trip stuff that I didn't get time to mention in my previous post:

I currently have no feeling in one of my fingertips after attempting to clip off a two-finger-pocket-gaston-type-hold in the Frankenjura.

The French didn't seem too impressed with me on my first visit to the supermarket, when I failed to realise that you're supposed to weigh and sticker your own fruit and veg. At the register, the checkout lady reeled off an angry string of words I didn't understand, while I stood there looking rather stupidly back at her. She gave up and went and weighed the fruit herself. Won't make that mistake again!

We are all very impressed with the engineering in Switzerland. Monster tunnels through mountains. Must have cost a bit. There also seems to be a lot of secret bunkers in the mountains. You see lots of camoflauged doors in the mountainsides, and then you notice that a portion of the rock itself is actually fake. There is a lot of military activity in Switzerland... lots of trucks driving around all the time. Neil even thinks the cows are fake. He says they are actually guns. We don't think they will be invaded any time soon. It would be too difficult.

Lee reckons all the citizens are paid by the government to play a part in looking good for the tourists. We saw one lady wandering down the street with a watering can and flowers. He concluded that she just chucks laps up and down that street all day long for our benefit. Neil has also observed that all the citizens greet you with this weird smile on their face like they're being monitored by a sniper or something. "Smile for the tourists. SMILE!" It really is a picture perfect country. The cows have trouble standing up on their hilly mountainsides though. We think they would tumble down the hill if they tried to move, so they have to just stand still and eat the grass in front of them, and then just wait for it to grow back before they can eat some more.

The freeway servos in Germany are weird. You visit the loo, stand up when proceedings are over, and are then shocked by a weird noise. So you turn around, and there you have it. A revolving toilet seat that is busily disinfecting itself.

Neil recently spent a number of hours with big dollops of moisturizer on his face after I got really bored in the cross border mission into Switzerland. He forgot it was there, and rediscovered it in the mens room at the servo. After he had been greeted by the mens room attendant. The very same servo with the revolving toilet seats actually. He he he he he.

Lee is unhappy with the height of the Swiss Alps. Quote of the week definitely goes to Lee (yet again) with "You'd think they could make their mountains a bit smaller so I don't get a sore neck trying to look at them."

The mini-project I told you about in the Frankenjura: I really wish we'd videod that last attempt. I was great... There's this huge sideways through to a crap hold... just as I hit the hold, I heard a rock cairn tumble to the ground and my belayer swear loudly and apologise, and the rope pull tight on my waist. Not helpful! I got myself immediately into a high heelhook and cranked up to the next decent hold. I'd taken the heelhook with such force that I'd almost torn my shoe off, so I paused to put it back on (still holding on to the decent hold). I reserved a thought for how great it would be to tick despite these hiccups, though it wasn't to be. Very amusing for all those present though :-)

Well that's all from me for now... talk to you again soon!


9:42:10 AM
jeez, this is a great read. i don't even know you guys and i'm all excited about yer adventures. keep writing!

10:03:08 AM
i'm really enjoying reading these reports jaq and i eagerly await to hear of neil and marty's adventures in the alps. make sure neil carries all the heavy stuff ok because he needs to get fit for some real deal climbing when he returns...keep on truckin!

1:27:47 PM
On 16/09/2004 climbingjac wrote:

>The French didn't seem too impressed with me on my first visit to the
>supermarket, when I failed to realise that you're supposed to weigh and
>sticker your own fruit and veg.

Yeah, I don't think we do that here because we're all descended from convicts!!

Keep it coming Jac.. (but still waiting for a pic!!)

1:39:07 PM
While in "Der Schweiz", dont forget to say thank you by saying "merci viel mal"...guaranteed more smiles out of the swiss ;-)

1:52:56 PM
On 16/09/2004 climbingjac wrote:
>We are all very impressed with the engineering in Switzerland. Monster
>tunnels through mountains. Must have cost a bit.

While we were over there earlier in the year they told us the country was prepared to house all of it's citizens in fall out shelters with those tunnels. Not sure if that's true, but if so, those tunnels must be pretty big and well stocked. We also noticed that the airfields and runways were all digused to look like farms from the air. No multi-story car parks, just bunkers with grass on the roof and cows roaming over the landing strips.

Incredibly beautiful place though. Here's a couple of pics I took back in May to keep us dreaming while we wait for Neil's media onslaught to reach us. :-)

You've got us all jealous Jac! Keep it coming!

1:58:16 PM
Yep I agree wit ta others. Great stories, top thread!

Keep'em coming!


2:25:28 PM
On 16/09/2004 kent wrote:
>yep im very jealous too !

Me too, but its still exciting to read!!
3:59:27 PM
I spent a bit of time in Switzerland in 2000 - mainly in St Moritz and environs, and yes the Swiss are very well prepared and defended. Many of the somewhat un-natural looking structures, particularly in border areas are anti tank defences (lines of house size boulders and deep trenches). Also missile silos dot the landscape in the most unlikey places.
The apartment building where I was staying had a bomb shelter with thick steel & concrete door and air filtration system. It was however mostly filled with toys and sporting goods...there you go. Will see if I can find the photos

Keep up the reports its great reading!

4:02:36 PM
On 16/09/2004 CJ wrote:
> Will see if I can find
>the photos

CJ if you could find the photos and perhaps post them in another thread that would be great. I (and others I'm sure would be really interested to see them


phil box
12:37:49 PM
Hi Jac, please pass on my hellos to Neil, Marty, Lee and Sammie. Can`t wait for all the singing and dancin techno show when you guys get back, I`m sure we`ll have a Queensland showing.

9:41:53 PM
Hi Jac.

great to hear that you are having such a great time!!! Looking forward to seeing the photos.
6:48:06 PM
Hi everyone,

A couple of days ago, Neil and Marty headed off into the abyss that is Mont Blanc. They spent the afternoon practicing a few things (Marty is quite new to Mountaineering) and then headed off at 1am for the summit. Those of us left at camp had some good old fashioned poor quality sleep, as we heard a lot of helicopter activity that day. You do worry when you have people on the mountain. Turns out that two people spent their last day on the mountain that day, but it wasn't our boys.

Marty got AMS on the way and accordingly was not in a position to summit. Neil continued solo style, with a bit of a shock along the way when he couldn't work out what the lump stuck to the side of his head was. Turned out to be his ear. They both got down safely (Marty looked very out of it!) though yesterday I noticed that Neil either had a dirty section of skin on his nose, or some form of frostnip/frostbite. Turned out to be the latter.

We have to buy a special cable in order to download pics for you guys. We're searching hard! Till then, sit pretty :-)

We're leaving Chamonix today, headed for the monster runouts of Ceuse.

I'll write again soon

9:17:05 AM
Hi Jac,

sounds like you guys are having an absolutely awsome trip! Regards to all. Stay safe.
p.s. seeing that you are in the heartland of European moutaineering heaven, any chance of getting you to buy me a pair of Charlet Moser U90000 upgrade ice picks for my CM Axar axes?? They retail for $A70 each here!!
mikl law
5:32:37 AM
heard a good Ceusse story from Zac:-
he was there and trudging up the thighland (it's a 50 minute walk) each day and some of the locals told him about the "lettuce diet". So he went on it and weight just fell off him, he walked up each day and seemd to be slowing down on some routes, but kept saying "No I'm feeling strong and light!"

Every time he saw one of these locals they'd be munching on a leaf with a big grin so he kept chomping down even tho' he felt a bit vague and wafty by now. Someone's girlfriend took pity and told him they had been eating a bit of lettuce, but also driving into the Patisserie and bouklangerie and fromagerie twice a day to keep from withering away.

where will you guys be in mid-October?

8:57:40 PM
'Spider-Man' climbs building bare-handed in France: PARIS (AP) - A French urban climber who calls himself "Spider-Man" scaled a 59-story Paris office building Wednesday with his bare hands and without using any ropes: The Associated Press, Published Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

Come on guys, I'm a bit dissapointed. We've got the creame-de-la-creame of Chockstones climbers in Fromage, and on my telly I see some frog climbing a building ..You;d have won my $200 it had been one of you...

You've still got a few weeks !!
12:18:42 AM
WOW- he climbed with his bare hands....i may have to try that one day...sounds difficult.

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