Friday, 31 December 2010

It's climbing time.

When we first arrived here in the Oisans valley, we were a bit concerned about the ice - or rather, the water. But the temperature obligingly dropped on Christmas Day, meaning we had some fantastic days out climbing.

On Boxing Day, we headed up to Vallon de la Selle (or, Vallon du Diable - depending on who you ask!) for very cold temperatures, clear blue skies and - after a stunning but long walk in - a short and mildly disappointing pitch of ice. This was merely a reconnaissance mission though!
Looking back down the valley ...

... and up the other way.

We were also joined by a mate from Amsterdam, Dan, who was keen to get out there on ice for the first time. So we headed with him back to La Grave, for more of the falls up the north side of the valley ...
Jen starting off on Croupe de la Poufiasse, in La Grave
... and then up to falls near the small villages of Notre-Dame and Reymond, too. The drives to these places were adventures in themselves, consisting of steep, narrow roads that cling to the sides of the mountain and sometimes tunnel through, with large chandeliers of ice dangling above (and sometimes smashed onto the tarmac).
Villard Notre-Dame

Each village, perched so high above the valley, has its stone church tower and a small cluster of oddly-shaped old buildings, and of course spectacular views to the mountains. Not bad, eh?!

A great way to round off the year - and lead into 2011: The Year of the Holiday.

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