Despite my dream to visit the Lofoten for a long time now, I have been tempered by the cost of getting there (carbon footprint wise). After a yearlong of adventuring by bike I felt ready to end my gap year on a high note and travel (solo and slowly) to this remote place. For the sake of simplicity for everyone, I will describe what I think – based on my experience going up and down – is the easiest and most direct way of getting to Lofoten. Although there are beautiful granite walls throughout the archipelago, most of the climbing is centred on Henningsvaer. There are numerous climbing possibilities along the road that winds down to the village, including short and long trad multi-pitch routes; bouldering and sport-climbing sea cliffs. Which makes it very practical for an ecopoint trip.
This summer we were travelling the Balkans for two months via public transport and luckily, we brought our climbing equipment along! Especially Bosnia and Herzegovina surprised us with its many new and very well-maintained crags that were quite easily accessible by public transport. One of our favorite climbing areas, and the one we spent the most time at, is Blagaj in Herzegovina.
Blagaj is a village that sits next to Vulin Potok Canyon, which was made accessible in 2014 by a via ferrata, which opened it up for exploration to the climbing community. Now there are about 14 established sectors for sport climbing and multipitching on the beautiful limestone rock with tufas, crimps and crack lines of all grades which are still growing every year. Our great (!) guidebook from 2020 was already outdated when we arrived there but the local climbing community is very active and has topos on its website.
El Chorro is a popular winter sport climbing destination in southern Spain featuring mainly south facing crags and a great range of grades. There is a fantastic climbing community here and a very relaxed atmosphere, plus the majority of the climbing areas are within easy walking distance from the village.
During our climb&bikepacking trip in the Balkans, we didn’t want to miss the beautiful climbing spots in the Peloponese! So as we head off Leonidio, we decided to go to two stunning climbing spots that are definitely worth the detour: Kyparissi and Vlychada. Those are peaceful and remote places with amazing climbing and the traditional greek “tufas”, where you can get gorgeous views on the Azur Blue sea. Do I need to say more?
Leonidio was one of the places I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, but never did because it felt way too far. All I ever heard about the journey to get there from Innsbruck was by plane or by a crazy long car ride (which I didn’t want to do). This year, we had a month offin February and since we are all into bikepacking, we decided to make it an ecopoint trip. First, we took the train to Venice . Then, we took the ferry from Venice to Patras, which is a 30 h trip, but since the ferries are huge and there’s a lot of space outside on the decks to move, do yoga and chill in the sun in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it felt like a holiday. Then we rode our bikes from Patras to Leonidio, which was a 3 day bike journey through the beautiful Peloponnese. Leonidio is a dream for climbers. There are so many crags that are accesible straight from the village, sport climbing and multipitches and all on beautiful orange limestone with tufas, holes, crimps,….
Wales is a world-class and historic trad destination, with sea cliffs, mountain crags, and every type of climbing: from easily accessible, well-protected classics to wild and remote adventures. Christelle Bakhache and I spent a week climbing in North Wales, then cycled to Pembroke over three days, and spent another week there.
Instead of going to Arco for the Easter Holidays, we decided to try something new and explore the sport climbing crags in South Tyrol in Italy. We started in Innsbruck by bike and had a first stop at ‘Ritten’, a high plateau right above Bozen, to climb there for three days. After that, we continued our bike trip through Meran to Latsch, a big sportclimbing crag in Vinschgau. Since we were only binking, we decided to go back to Innsbruck via Reschenpass to have a round trip, but if you don’t want to bike the whole Vinschgau, Meran, and Bozen are easily accessible by train and busses as well.
Siurana is a world-class sport climbing crag. It is known for its excellent rock quality, diversity of route types, and hard grades climbs. But don’t worry, it’s accessible to anyone as it has more than 1400 routes. I planned this trip to try climbing at my limit while travelling by bike. It’s a wonderful place to find a hard project!
Buoux is one of the major crags in Southern France. It is located in the Parc Régional du Lubéron, a beautiful and wild place 80 km north of Marseille. It is an important part of the history of climbing but also a place where people have been living since maybe 10 000 years! Its walls, caves, forests, and river form a welcoming environment for many different species… since way before climbers arrived. I travelled there first of all because I am curious about the history of this place, beyond the climbing and beyond our own species. Of course, I also love climbing there. It is a crag I know very well, and the rock connects me to my family for many reasons. I like the game of trying to send the routes my dad and my uncle opened in the 80’s.
For me, Finale Ligure is one of the most beautiful climbing spots I have visited so far! It is less crowded than Arco and has a vast variety of routes for sport climbing and multipitch climbing. I went there with a friend in the summer in June, which was nice. As you can find some sectors in the forest it’s also fine for warmer temperatures. But if you have the opportunity to go there in the spring or at the end of the summer, the temperature might be even better for climbing. During our stay we enjoyed this amazing spot a lot.