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The Climbing Club • View topic - Summer in Europe

The Climbing Club

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 Post subject: Summer in Europe
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:20 pm 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 5:13 pm
Posts: 8
Location: UW

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Spencer James
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, UW
spencerscomet@gmail.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:02 pm 
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Alpine Bod
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Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 1:31 pm
Posts: 1330
Location: Los Americanos
My friend Ela knows Europe better than anyone else I know. She's currently over there. This girl hitched from Prince George (middle of BC) to mainland Alaska last year in winter after taking off from j-tree and yosemite :!: I'm sure she'd love to give advice or take on travel partners.


Here's a bit of correspondance.

spring
...i've been getting ready for my european vacation, or move, depends on how you
look at it. I am going to europe for a while, maybe for as long as 6 months or more.
first, i am flying to Norway, and going climbing and exploring there; then I am going
to Poland to see my dad and visit family and stuff (my family bought an fatty
apartment in Krakow)... and then I hope to hook up with some mountaineering club and
go climbing in the alps, or wherever....

aug 24th
i am in poland now, but after just spending 6 wks in the french alps i am getting ready
to go back quite soon. i just popped up to poland to visit my cousins and chill out
while the weather is warm.
i am thinking i want to go to india and nepal and i think i can fly for cheap if i
leave from frankfurt or london. so maybe by Oct 1st i will be in the far east.

sept 12
I am back in chamonix now. i just climbed a big rocky 4000 mt peak called dent du
geant

sept 26th
I joined a friend on a bike trip in the Pyrenes. we
started a week ago on the Med side and we are working our way west to the atlantic.


oct 26th
i just finished my bike trip, then went surfing on the atlantic coast, france
and spain, and now after a 2 dy hitch, i am in the south of spain and tomorrow i go
to morocco; exciting stuff.

Here's a trio of travelers, Tannah, Ela and Eric chillin in Wrangell St. Elias National Park (AK). Good times :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:59 pm 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2002 3:28 pm
Posts: 138
I've always had a great time in Chamonix. There are tons of cheap (bunks for <$15/night; camping for ~$5/night) places to stay; good grocery stores, etc. There's good hiking, drinking, bouldering for rest days. And of course some of the most amazing alpine climbing (gorgeous granite, all sorts of ice) I've ever seen. Be prepared to readjust your sense of scale. It is possible to camp/bivy in the high country. Huts can be expensive. I have found partners in Cham -- hang out in the bars and post notes in the various hostels (gites). It might take a few days, depending on your timing. Remember, in Europe, ski season ends at the end of May; in June the hut wardens take their vacation; in July climbing season starts. I've sat on the patios of 250-person huts in the Swiss alps in the middle of June and not seen another soul. Kind of eerie.

The Italian alps are good too. I did do a hike up to one of the huts on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif (across the border from Cham) and the contrast is pretty amazing -- the Italian side is much more rustic/mellow and a lot less crowded. There is also tons of climbing on that side too, but probably harder to find a partner. The Dolomites are also worth a visit.

Switzerland in general is too stuffy and expensive for my taste. I would avoid it, unless you have contacts there. I did a glacier walk up the Aletsch glacier (ending at that crazy mountain-top hotel featured in a James Bond movie). It was great until I realized the only way down was to downclimb the Eiger (not) or to take the train (through the inside of the mountain). $50 later I was in town.

My serious advice would be to rent a car. I know that it is counter to the Eurail mentality, but if you're planning on spending time in the mountains, there is really no better way to get around. You'll be able to live out of your car; save money on lodging; carry climbing gear; etc. Gas only seems expensive until you realize that the distances are not that great and that the 1.2 liter engines don't consume that much...

Some sketchy notes here:



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