Greece is the first country on our trip where the boarder police had a huge smile on their face when they saw our group of vans entering their country. A warm welcome, without any problems, inspections, etc… It felt almost bizarre so I wondered if there was a connection with the shitty financial crisis and the welcoming of tourists…;-)
Anyways, driving through this country felt great, Olive trees everywhere and the fact that you’re following sings with Athens written on them.
Our destination was Meteora, and it was absolutely breathtaking! The countryside was unreal, almost like in a fantasy film. Meteora is a little park with 250 towers. On the top of some of them were built some impressive monasteries. We had the chance to climb on these huge towers made up of pure multipitch routes.
For me this really was fun because I do a lot of multipitch routes and I’m used to climbing calmly and carefully. I must add that there were not a lot of bolts. With few bolts, the number one rule was to not fall, which was difficult for people as there was little room for error. I did a couple of five star routes, all between 6a and 6c.
It was a pure pleasure for me to climb on these mystical towers. I felt really good climbing and it was such a big pleasure to lead these routes for some of my best friends who climb less strong. During these days I am reminded why I love multipich climbing and why I love sharing the experience with other people.
Besides all the peace and calmness, I have to tell you that I had a huge performance during my last day: We went out climbing with Sean Villenova and photographer Guillaume Vallot to shoot in an incredible crag. While I was climbing the first pitch I had to rest a little so that the photographer was able to shoot in a good position. Guillaume had two huge cameras with him and while was shooting, the zipper on his camera bag opened and his second camera felt out. His Sony 5D fell 6 meters directly on my shoulder! Lucky and skillfully, I had the reflex to grab the camera and not take a fall myself in the process. Thankfully I had saved 3’500 euros and my own life! That’s a performance, isn’t it?;-)
The crazy thing with the Petzl Roc Trip is that they take us to places where I have never thought about going in my life. A special part of these long trips is the unusual experiences you have with all of the people around you. We live every day of these trips together and have a lot of fun. Everyone of us can be a little crazy sometimes, but it’s great because you can really learn from each other and you accept more and more that people are different… and that is a good thing.
After four days in Meteora, we all packed up and headed for Athens where we had one day to visit this old city. It felt great to have a day to act like a tourist…;-)
Thank you, Greece for your warmth and friendliness; for your good feta and olives and especially for your incredible history.
Here are some really cool videos to watch. The first ones are about the Petzl Roc Trip, featuring our trip we made to Rumania and Bulgaria some weeks ago. Mazedonia is coming soon, stay tuned!
And that one is from the Swiss television (in German) about our adventure in Orbayu this summer. It’s cool to watch the first footages….we can’t wait to produce the festival film which will be ready for spring 2015. That film will be completly independent of this TV version. Enjoy!;-)
After a short and really wet stop in Rila (Bulgaria), the caravans headed south to Prilep, Macadonia. This small city is surrounded by a mountain of boulders, a sight I have never seen in my life.
As soon as we crossed the boarder, I fell in love with this country. The Mediterranean climate made me feel warm, the landscape felt soft and there were fruits and vegetables growing everywhere.
As a route climber, I haven’t seen so many boulder areas, but I realized why so many climbers love this type climbing. Bouldering is fun! The potential of Prilep is huge for bouldering. I guess that only 5% of the boulders are cleaned and every day we brushed some new problems.
I loved the diversity of the problems and the crazy holds.
I felt like a kid again. I climbed until every fingertip was bloody. That’s the only down side of Prilep; that the granite grains are really big, so you quickly run out of skin.
As a route climber, I’m not so experienced in bouldering so I learning by making mistakes. I made a hundred try’s for a problem instead of taking good breaks between. I wasn’t able to climb explosively and to give 200% in one try so I tired quickly but not before running out of skin. I’ve had so much fun, so who cares!
Bouldering is an activity that is really great for my climbing and I’m already psyched to do it again in Bafa Lake. But first, I need to let my fingertips heal…;-)
Once more, the Petzl team members were so cool and there were some real bouldering machines on this part of the trip like Akyo Nogouchi, Sachi Amman and Melissa Leneve. It was great to watch them in their element and I wish that one day I will also be able to fully express myself on a hard boulder problem…
But before that, some multipitch routes in Meteors.
Next stop Greece!
The rainy summer of Europe had followed us to Bulgaria. During our four-day stop, the weather took over and heavy rains filled and almost overflowed the rivers of Vratsa. The flooding made travel very difficult especially for our Petzl caravan of buses full of people and gear.
But, our little French team had high spirits and when we arrived in Vratsa, Gérome Pouvreau made us his famous ‘Tartiflette’ with all the good cheese he brought with him from France!
Climbing in Vrasta seemed to be impossible for the next few days as the limestone walls had turned into waterfalls. We took this as an opportunity to explore and over the next two days we ended up climbing in a huge cave in Karlukovo, which was an amazing experience. It was still raining and the conditions were quiet wet, but with our group’s motivation we climbed some amazing routes.
The four days of rain slowly started to get to us, but then, thankfully, the sun came out and we finally got the chance to see the beautiful landscape of Vratsa.
The next three days we climbed in the sun on perfect limestone and our hearts were feeling the joy of climbing.
I loved this place so much. The mixture between sport climbing in these awesome Bulgarian mountains made me really excited.
I slowly felt comfortable with my climbing again and got back to a good level of ability. I did several routes around eight degrees of difficulty and it felt wonderful. I enjoyed every single move and really loved the feeling of the power coming back to my body.
The Bulgarian people were amazing!
And once again, we were back in the bus and on the road dodging potholes, but this seems to be really common in the eastern countries…;-)
I left my apartment in Grenoble, France for about two months and I had no idea what to expect. I traveled east to join the Petzl Roc Trip caravan headed to Romania. I don’t usually travel east to climb, but I loved the idea of discovering new countries, cultures and new climbing areas.
Together with our French friends and team members, we finally arrived in Romania and the village of Baile Herculane. One of the first things we noticed was the difference between gypsies and Romanians. We had always had this idea that all people from Romania are on the road, which is not true. But, it was so fun to see how the real Romanian-gypsies live their life by the road.
The valley of the Baile Herculane is an amazing place and a great climbing area. To start off our trip, we hiked about an hour to reach a huge cliff along side a beautiful waterfall.
I had almost forgotten about the Roc Trip vibe, because the last one I went on was about three years ago in China. There are so many climbers and everyone just wants to get out and climb. It took a bit to get used to all the people in the beginning of the trip because I had spent my whole summer almost alone in the mountains of Picos de Europa. Now, I was climbing on a cliff along with 200 others!
During the first three days of climbing I felt really weak and was struggling to get back in form. I was still feeling the effects of traveling in my legs. After such a long break from rock climbing, I was little uncomfortable. But, Roc Trip means climbing! Who cares what level you are at, it’s all about enjoying new routes with the people around you and the opportunity to travel while doing what you love.
Baile Herculane is also famous for his hot springs and since we were here, we couldn’t miss a chance to experience them. We had the chance to meet one gypsy who lives in one of the tunnels where the 50 degree hot water comes out…ha! This was not easy to watch, but at least he won’t freeze during the winter!
The roads in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria are well known for being harsh on vehicles. As well as being a top climber, it’s just as important to be a world-class pilot: there are so many huge holes in the roads that you feel like you are in a video game.
Unfortunately, Gérome Pouvreau found one of the holes in the road. Lucky he had only dented a rim and somehow with some heavy hammering the rim was repaired and we were on our way…
Romanian’s like to have a good time after climbing. The base camp was full of food, beer and souvenir stands – a whole party area. We had the chance to try all the delicious food and were impressed with the local games and concerts.
We have now crossed the border and I’m ready to discover Bulagria during the next ten days….
Ce dernier mois a été un peu particulier pour moi. J’avoue que notre belle aventure dans “Orbayu” m’a couté énormément d’énergie et à notre retour je suis tombé dans un grand creux. Ce creux particulièrement profond m’a montré que j’avais donnée trop de ma personne, mais aussi que j’avais réussi à me dépasser. Ce creux m’a fait bizarre il m’a complétement déboussolé. Normalement j’arrive à diriger mon journalier avec ma tête, mes envies et mes ressentis, tous ce que je fais normalement à du sens et j’ai l’impression d’avancer dans ma vie.
Là c’était le pur contraire: Je ne servais à rien, mais à rien du tout! Je me sentais comme un gros sac, incapable de bouger, incapable de faire le moindre d’effort. Le mieux à faire c’était donc des vrais vacances; des vacances dans la vallée du Prättigau ou je suis née et de me faire chouchouter par ma petite maman et famille.
La reprise plus tard, mon dieu, c’était dur….Je me sentais comme quelqu’un qui n’a jamais fait de sport dans sa vie et qui essaie de s’y mettre. Quand on est sportive de haute niveau c’est tellement normale de bouger et de faire des efforts. Parfois ça devient presque comme une drogue. J’adore sentir mon corps, voir réagir mes muscles après des entrainements et aussi sentir que mon corps a besoin de manger et de boire.
Le fait de pas bouger et de manger n’importez quoi a gentiment commencé à me prendre la tête. Heureusement, au bout de trois semaines, on a pu récupérer notre camion réparé par notre dieu monsieur Patrick Fuselier. Enfin, on a eu la certitude de partir avec le camion sur le Petzl Roc Trip et ça m’a donné une immense motivation de se remettre en forme pour ça. Comme quoi il faut toujours avoir des buts dans la vie…
Depuis, on a bricolé beaucoup dans le camion pour l’adapter à nos besoin pour être confortable pendant ces deux mois de trip.
Ca y est, on a quitté Grenoble avec un camion qui brille comme neuf. Ce qui est bon, je ne sais pas du tout à quoi m’attendre. Inchalla….
Je publierai un billet sur la page Facebook d’Arcteryx après chaque étape. Je pense qu’il y aura des choses à vous raconter….;-)
Pour info, voici encore un petit reportage qu’on a réalisé ce printemps avec la RTS à Saint Léger. Malheureusement, on ne peut que le visualiser en Suisse…Peut-être qu’un jour la télé me donnera le droit de le mettre sur youtube.
Last October I was fortunate to be a part of the famous bolting trip in Turkey for the upcoming Petzl Roc Trip. These trips are really special to me so I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.
Going to new areas to open new routes requires an open and expanding mind. Most of the time, there are no real plan nor ideas. With Petzl, we are searching for the unknown and unexplored to expose new ways to learn, improve, express and share with nature and one another.
Together, with my really good friend Melissa Le Nevé, other lovely people from the team and many Turkish climbers, we went to a valley near the famous climbing area Geyikbayiri to open new routes on the impressive wall of Citdibi.
During these weeks our lives were really simple: We lived and slept in the alp-like area, surrounded by goats and chickens. We ate authentic Turkish food which included feta, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers. We were bolting and climbing the whole time; we were simply happy.
Turkey was only one piece of the puzzle. Before our trip and also after, Petzl organized other bolting trips and step by step, the whole tour came together.
The Petzl Roc Trip is quickly approaching, and I can’t tell you how excited and curious I am to discover all the diverse destinations of the tour. It will be a long trip, full of surprises, rich with new cultures and landscapes and tons of high quality rock.
Cédric and I are planning to be present for the whole Roc Trip. Our van will also join us by road and ferry……IF we manage to fix the broken motor.
A choice for a very easy way to participate for part or all of the tour:
Petzl has organized four buses for the transport. All you need is your own tent and climbing gear……jump on the bus and join the caravan for part or all of the tour.
Simply register on the Petzl website and your adventure will begin!
In Romania, Cédric and I will present a little slide show about our latest projects…caving in Papua New Guinea, sport climbing in Pic St. loup and multi-pitch climbing on the route Orbayu.
For me personally, it’s an honour to be part of this special trip, probably because I LOVE to travel like a gipsy….hehe