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In 2008, our trip to the Dolomites and Meteora proved to be the entry drug to the world of climbing outside of the US. We’ve been off to the races since then. This is a slowly growing list of places we’ve climbed on the continent.
Though there may not be much in the way of true wilderness, the Old World charm still makes it seem like a worthwhile effort. I have to say that we find the geographic peripheries of Europe much more appealing than the traditional “heart” of the continent these days; Scotland, Portugal, portions of Scandinavia and Ukraine seem more fascinating than a trip to Switzerland or Austria (but we would not pass up on going there either).
Trip Reports Listed Chronologically
Listings By Area and Route
The Dolomites (Italy)
So many great (and long) moderates, so many hard (and long) classics! We do love the place. Weather can be a bit shifty (based on our two trips there and a total duration of about 5 weeks) but overall not too bad. We’ve been known to have worse weather luck elsewhere.
We spent about two weeks there during the early fall (September to early October) of 2008…and probably had like 4 sunny days in total. All other days involved dodging rain showers or just not being able to climb because of sustained rain. Fortunately, the table wine was cheap, there were monasteries to see, Greek coffee was decent and Internet readily available…did I mention cheap booze? When we did get to climb, it was stellar! Reasonably well protected (based on routes we’ve done) and seemingly well maintained routes at almost any (weekend warrior) grade level. Awesome spires and an other-worldly kind of setting.
Intimidating place! For us anyway. Exactly the sort of climbing we’ve successfully managed to avoid here in the US: steep, sustained, and juggy. All arms it seemed. Really had to knock down our hopes and expectations. On the flip side, it’s so much of what we love: multipitch climbing, wild exposure, and proud summits sitting atop huge (1000-foot tall) towers! Will go back…barely scratched the surface.
Sort of seemed like Meteora (beyond just the obvious similarities in rock type) in the relaxed atmosphere and fun, low-stress climbing. Would love to go back for a third trip.
Costa Blanca (Spain)
One route so far. White (and polished!) limestone; blue Mediterranean; good seafood. What’s not to like…except perhaps for out of control sprawl.
Isle Of Wight (UK)
I mean where else do you get to climb chalk above a sea? Loved it! Probably won’t be back to the Island though.
Rain, drinking, eating, more rain, trace quantity of climbing…
We’ve always wanted to try climbing there. Strict and very unique ethics (probably one of a kind in the world) making the climbing of the little sandstone towers a fright fest. Combined with a family reunion, we did have a great time though!
Polish JuraFamily, sightseeing, slick limestone climbing (just OK).
CroatiaSafe (even by Euro standards) country with OK climbing and pretty nice beaches. Seafood was fresh and pretty good; Dubrovnik was worth a day. Highlight was the little tower of Stogaj: unique setting and rock.
Lofoten Islands (Norway)Unstable weather but great and very trad climbing! Nice beaches to boot and – during the optimal weather months – no darkness to worry about.
Not that we seek out those urban encounters but they do happen on occasion. Always useful for having a pint or a decent meal (but without fail, tiresome after about a half a day).
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