Aiguille de la Republique

There are Chamonix Aiguilles (needles) and Chamonix Aiguilles. This is one of the latter, as sharp and pointy as a 700 m rock spire can be. The thought of the pioneers lassoing the summit and hand over handing up a hemp rope still makes my palms sweaty. The exposure levels on the summit kept me straddling the blade of rock – one leg either side. We climbed the modern magnificent political crack route named Republique Bananiere that the maestro Piola rated in his top ten Mont Blanc Massif granite routes. ED 6C and 700 m of magic including a 50 m dihedral.

Les Calanques – Sail and Climb

This was my first visit to the fabled Calanques of Marseilles. The Calanques are the fiord region next to Marseille and host to a plethora of marvelous rockclimbs on walls of impeccable white limestone up to 300 m high. On this trip we had the luxury of a boat and could sail round and chose what took our fancy! I will definitely be back.