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Home - Sat, 26 Nov 2022 16:39:43 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Aiguille du Midi / The Cosmiques Ridge Aiguille du Midi / The Cosmiques Ridge

The Cosmiques Ridge (in french Arête des Cosmiques) is one of the most classic climbs in Mont Blanc Massif. This ridge on the Aiguille du Midi need minimal approach and is easily accessible from the cable car. Give easy grade (french PD/PD+), nice views and you know why Cosmiques are so popular. This is also a good way for acclimatization for harder routes, and for a relative beginning climbers great alpine goal.

Grade: AD 4a (crux has 4c)
Length: 240-300 m. Elevation 3550 m / 3842 m
Time: 2-3 hours (half of the day with approach/descent by cable car on Aiguille du Midi. But on this route can be a big traffic)
Localization: Aiguille du Midi / Mont Blanc Massif / Chamonix (France)
Character: Ridge, traverses, slabs, couloirs
First ascent: 1911, 2 August - George and Maxwell Finched


Technical Information:

Difficulty rating: PD/PD+, 4a (4c crux)
Elevation min/max: 3550 m / 3842 m
Height difference: +300 m / -300 m
Difficulties height difference: 240 m

Arête des Cosmiques offers climbing on rock, ice, and snow. It is possible to do this route in every season. It is not difficult for climbers, but you must be prepared for mixed conditions which depend from the time of the year. You will descent to the glacier and climb up granite slabs & crack.

Area of Aiguille du Midi is known for a good place for acclimatization. Typically you take a cable car to the top (~3800 m), do some route and quickly go to Chamonix (~1000 m). That was our tactic for climbing on north face of Grandes Jorasses.

Cosmiques are very popular (especially in high season (from June to September) then be prepared for a lot of people on the ridge. A good option is to start early (first cable car). Also, be prepared if there is a strong wind.


• Crampons
• Ice axe (or two in winter)
• 60 m half rope
• Half a set of nuts (mostly cams to 0.75)
• 4 slings
• 4 quickdraws
• Abseil/belay device

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From Chamonix take a cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi (ticket up/down cost ~60 euro…) and go to the ice tunnel. Descent the steep snow ridge and traverse below the South Face of the Midi (outstanding summer climbing in orange granite). Go near of the Simond Hut.


Descending from Aiguille du Midi

The Cosmiques Ridge

The Ridge start on easy mixed terrain, which leads to a small summit. At this part of the climb, you will go on the right side of the “ridge”. Take direction to the first gendarme (~3731 m ), climb the inclined slabs (4b). Go on the ridge to the second subsidiary summit. Do a descending traverse (or abseil).


View to crux of the route

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Next, go to the first tower and abseil 30 m (bolted belays). Move on the right on the base of the first tower. Climb a small chimney (4a) and go up to ridge (here go also the Cosmiques Couloir). On big ledge go right around the second tower.


Author on crux pitch. Photo Tomasz Klimczak

Before you are crux section. 5 meters of terrain 4c (slab with cracks). The slab is quite easy because you have drilled (sic!) holes for your front points of crampons. Traverse right above the slab, go to the narrow ledge. From there go to the big terrace and cross the ridge to NW face.


Outstanding view!

Descent and go right to couloir chimney (2 pitches 3c and 4a).


On the ridge go to the metal ladder and access to the terrace of Midi station and to cable car, back to Chamonix.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Mountain Base Mon, 06 Nov 2017 16:31:37 +0000
Grandes Jorasses / Desmaison (Gousseault) Grandes Jorasses / Desmaison (Gousseault)

Desmaison (Gousseault) on the north face of Grandes Jorasses is described as one of the finest mixed climbs in The french Alps. On 11-14 of October 2017 we do this route and here you have a description of Desmaison. Like they say in the guidebook: “Go for it, before you become an old fart”... ;-).

"When I think of the Grandes Jorasses, I think real class
When I think of good conditions on the north face, I think those who are not there are missing out
When I think of all those routese, I think I still have loads to do
When I think of the Desmaison, I think- Go for it, before you become an old fart...."

Chroistophe Moulin

Grade: ED2 VI 6a A1/A2, 1200m
Length: 1200 m (33-36 pitches). We have 33.
Time: 2-4 days.
Localization: North Face of Grandes Jorasses / Chamonix (France)
Character: snow/ice ramps 50-85 degrees, corners chimneys, mixt,
First ascent: 1973 10-17 February - René Desmaison, Giorgio Gertone, and Michele Clareta
First free ascent: 2007, October - Guy Robertson and Pete Benson

Climbing on the north face of Grandes Jorasses isn’t easy. This is one of the wildest places in Mont Blanc massif. After you climb north face you have complicated (and dangerous) descent on the south side of Grandes Jorasses.


Lescheaux hut. Photo Damian Granowski


The best way is to train to Montenvers (from Chamonix). You go to Mer de Glace and approach ~4 hours to mountain hut Leschaux, where is good to stay for a night.
From there you have 3-4 hours to the base of the north face of Grandes Jorasses.


Approach to the base of the north face. Photo Tomasz Klimczak


Best time for climbing this route is autumn, winter, and early spring. You can do this route in any conditions, but… I recommended that do this route in good conditions :). On route, you will find a lot of rotten rock, and a few big boulders, which can fall with you (especially if they will be not frozen).
Best is if easy terrain on Ramps is covered in consolidated snow and ice. Perfect conditions were for that purpose were in 2014 (very rare) and some teams do Desmaison in 2 days.
We have poor conditions (but good weather) and need 4 days to complete Desmaison. The hardest pitches were this easiest :-). Sometimes you can find a rotten rock, covered by snow. A lot of time takes in this conditions to find holds and solid place for protection. In good conditions, you probably run at this “easy” places.
Another problem was bivi places, which are VERY poor if there is not so many snow. All our bivouacs were in sitting position. Check fresh foto of the wall and search for ice on ramps :-). Hardest pitches (with M-grade) are usually possible to climb even if they are dry. We don’t have problems with them.

Desmaison (Gousseault) has some start variation:
Originally (1971 and 1973 year) Desmaison started on an overhanging wall between the gully of The Shroud and Ramp I.
Now you can start also: October 2000 start (250 m by The Schrund and go to the top of Ramp I), January 2000 (Start at gully on the right of The Shroud and go to chimney), Colton-Smith (most logical if the start of this route is covered in ice). All the starts to the Desmaison lead to the top of Ramp I.



We choose:

- double rope 50 m
- one set of friend to #3 (purple and green doubled). Plus set of microfriends
- 8 ice screw (mostly short)
- set of 11 nuts
- set of pitons (especially 2-3 knifeblades, 3 "Jedynka") + hammer
- 12 quickdraws (include 8 alpine)
- couple of slings 120 cm and 12 meter of cord
- Jumar and microtraxion

Food (for one day)

- 200 grams of nuts,
- 100 grams of dried fruits
- one portion of liofilizated food
- one light liof for team on breakfast
- soup (one for team)
- 2 tables of izotonic
- some individual sweeties

My clothes and personal gear

-2 pair of Smartwool socks
- shoes with inner boots. My were TNF Verto S6k Extreme.
- underwear clothes
- t-shirt
- hoodie Cortina Montano
 El Cap Montano Softshell
- down jacket Yeti Wave
- 3 pair of gloves (Monkey's Grip Power Load and Dt. Plus one very light for operation on bivoaucs)
- cap and shawl
- sunglasses
- Ct Ascent harness
- Ct Orion helmet
- Fixe Frog Belay Device
- 3 CT hms
- one CT hammer
- 2 Nomics
- Simond Vampire crampons
- 2 cords

Bivvy gear

- one windboil 1l
- 500 gram of winter gas
- sleeping bag
- bivy bag
- carrimat

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After reconnaissance, we choose January 2000 start.
We climb ~60 meters in quite good ice. Next, we climb mixt M5 pitch which ends at the base of the chimney M5+. Prepare for war if there is no conditions in chimney :-].


Tomek at the beginning of chimney pitch

After chimney pitch move to the right to the easier-angled mixed ground to the foot of a rock step (top of Ramp I). On this step, you will find 2 pitches. First is 5c/M6, with traverse (old poor fixed ropes) to a small flake. Secon M5 to the top of Ramp I.


M6 pitch to the top of Ramp I. Photo Tomasz Klimczak


Second pitch. Photo Tomasz Klimczak

In this area (2-3 easier pitches) we have the first bivouac.


Morning of second day

After that, you go to start of Ramp II. From here you climb 50 m rock wall (right to the chimney and after to the left). Next 80 meters of easier terrain (M4, 80°. We have some nice ice and later poor rotten rock covered in snow), which ends at the base of Ramp III.
You will find there 60 meters of 6a/M7 mixed terrain (or A1). Tomek aid last part and move out to “excellent bivvy site”, which was not so excellent :-). But in better conditions should be better.


Tomek heading for this hard pitch (lower crux). Photo Damian Granowski

From here you have 300 meters of easier climbing in ice (section 80-85° thin ice). If there will be not so many ice then prepare for battle in corners with loose rock. Ramp III goes to the foot of headwall, where are connections to other routes. At the base of headwall we have another bivvy site, but if you have time, then try one more pitch of headwall and you probably find a better place, with a sun at dawn :-).


III Ramp. Photo Damian Granowski


At the base of headwall. Photo Tomasz Klimczak

Headwall consists some nice mixt pitches. First is 50 m of climbing in cracks at grade M5. Second is M5+, which goes diagonally (to the right) in solid red rock to the base of the chimney.
We climb 40m in - not so good - rock, climb chimney (M5, some old fixed ropes - abandoned during a Korean attempt. After you climb chimney go to the right (poor rock, and loose blocks) below monolithic step.
Crux pitch (M6 or 5c A1) of headwall is before you. Climb the wide crack (hand traverse) and after this go to left (don’t go to pegged crack on the right!). Climb to the corner (maybe you must take off gloves) and go to ice smear.


Hand traverse on the headwall crux pitch. Photo Tomasz Klimczak

After this pitch, you have 4-5 pitches of Exit Ramp (200m, M4, 75°).


Nice 1000 meter exposure :-). Photo Damian Granowski

It depends from the conditions. We have some “hard” climbing in not consolidate snow. On the last part go to corners from the right side. It should be the easiest way to the top.


Tomek on exit ramp. Photo Damian Granowski


Good morning Mont Blanc! Photo Damian Granowski

Descent (4-5 hours)

from the Grandes Jorasses is one of the hardest and complicated in Mont Blanc massif. Some sections are exposed to seracs, stone fall or avalanche… In the night or poor weather can be difficult to find the route. It's a good idea to have map, compass, and GPS with coordinates of crucial points.
The best way from Pte Walker is “normal” route. From the summit head down (slightly leftwards) to S rock ridge. The descent on the crest (rock&ice) to glacial plateau. Traverse west across the glacier (be quick! Above you are a line of seracs) to get to the Rochers Whymper (base of S spur of Pte Whymper).
You will find here some Rappels (in good conditions you can descent without them) which lead you to Gl. des Grandes Jorasses.
Traverse this glacier to the west to the top of Rocher du Reposoir. Go down the crest of this ridge (poor rocks). After few hundred meters go to left side of the crest. Last part you can climb down or use two 30 m abseils.


Descent on Rocher du Reposoir. Photo Damian Granowski

We use abseils and after that don’t go down (hard slabs and bergschrund), but traverse to the west to easier part of the glacier.
Head down on the glacier (but take the left side of Glacier de Planpincieux. Near of Rognon de la Bouteille). Move off the glacier onto a rocky plateau. Continue down rocky rib to Boccalatte hut (fixed ropes). The hut cannot be seen until the last minute.
From Boccalatte hut go down by patch to village Planpincieux (2-3 hours).


Desmaison 11-14 October 2017, Damian Granowski and Tomasz Klimczak. 3 bivvy at the wall and one of the peak of Grande Jorasses. 1200 m, M6+, WI4, A1.

Movie from this trip:


and another


]]> (Damian Granowski) Mountain Base Sun, 22 Oct 2017 18:38:57 +0000
Climbing in Leonidio Climbing in Leonidio

In April 2017 we check new destination on worlds climbing map – Leonidio in Greece. Almost two weeks in this quite new sector was a good time. In this article, you will find some tips for climbing and accommodate here.

Getting there

Leonidio (~6000 residents) is placed in a valley on the east coast of the Peloponnese peninsula (210 kilometers from Athens). It is surrounded by big limestone crags, and from city to Sea is 3 kilometers. The best way to getting there is to buy a fly ticket directly to Athens. From there you have a 4-hour drive (you can rent a car from airport) to Leonidio (highway and later express road near of Mediterain Sea.



Climbing in hot rock. Photo. Damian Granowski

Another option is going there by bus:

By Bus:
From Athens International Airport take Bus X93 to Kifissou Bus station (in greek: Κηφισού). It is the final station of the line, ca. 1h drive, 5€.
At the bus terminal buy your ticket at the counter "Leonidio" (in greek: ΛΕΩΝΙΔΙΟ or Λεωνίδιο).

From Athens to Leonidio
8:15 am, 11 am (1x switch in Tripolis), 16:30 o'clock. Drive: ca. 4h
Fridays is an extra Bus at 18:30 o'clock.

From Leonidio to Athens
5:30 am (except Sundays)(via Tripolis), 8:15 am, 16:30 o'clock
Athens Bus Station: (+30) 210 5124910, 210 5124911
Leonidio Bus Station: (+30) 27570 22255

Accommodation & Food

Leonidio – The traditional town offers a lot of places to accommodation. There is the big touristic base for summer, when a lot of people go there for holidays (sea and beach). But out the season lot of them is free (and probably cheaper).  Here you have link to possible places.


The traditional town still offers a pleasant way of life and is a good place to choose for a relaxing and/or active vacation! Many of you have visited our beautiful village and have experienced the stunning cliffs surrounding Leonidio. Currently, there are more than 1000 routes across a wide range of grades, and there is still potential for much more.

In Leonidio, you have 2 small supermarkets. But you also have a lot of bakeries, small shops (fruit & vegetables). For long evenings you have a tavern and pizza restaurants. Local taverns have a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes.


There is „Leonidio Climbing Guidebook” (edition 2016, also in English). Almost 1000 routes in 50 sectors. More than 40 intro pages. It cost ~30 euro. It was produced by the climber from Panjika cooperative in Leonidio. They have in Leonidio bar, climbing shop, the restaurant in one ;).



Przemek Patelka on Tufa Tango 6c, Sector Mars

Best season for climbing

Climbing conditions in Leonidio are best in autumn, winter, and spring. Best period for climbing is from October to April, with the climate being typically Mediterranean. Some crags can be climbable even on hot spring and summer days.

We have been there on the beginning of May and there was a lot of crags where you can climb. But in many cases, we tried to climb in shade, For example, after 1 am there was shadow on sector Mars. Main sectors (above Leonidio) like Hot Rock are best in winter when the sun is your friend :-).


Daniel Wdowiak on Metallica 5c+

A lot of climbers is there at the beginning of November, when is Leonidio Climbing Festival (in this year 2-5 November).

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The rock

In Leonidio is limestone. Usually red/orange in overhangs. The vast majority of climbing routes in Leonidio are relatively new. Many still require thorough cleaning of loose rock and traffic to improve. Pieces still break off, so helmets are strongly recommended.



Ania Kołodziej in Sector Red Rock

In general quality of rock is good. You will find crimps, pockets (not so many), tufas. Climbing on slabs, vertical, overhanging rock.



Mateusz Kołodziej climbing 6b in Sector Mars


Near of Leonidio, there are close to a thousand climbing routes ( the state from 2016), most of them are quite new. The majority are single pitch routes, but you will find some multi-pitch climbing (up to 200 m) on the main cliff above the city. All the climbs are sensibly bolted (no clipstic required).

It is recommended to take an 80m rope since some of the routes are up to 40m high and required as many as 20 quickdraws (I hear that on some harder and long (~50m) routes you need 25). However, it is possible to get away with a 70 m rope and still climb the majority of the routes. Even 60 m rope should be ok, for a lot of routes (For example sector Mars). For sports multi-pitch climbing you need 80 m single rope (rappels are 40 m long) or 50-60 double rope. The double rope should be better on traditional routes.



Daniel Wdowiak and Krzysiek Sadnicki on multipitch route Mira 6b

Almost every climber will find something for them. From french 5a to 9a. But this area is not for very beginners climber. It is ok if you do 6a grade (OS or quick RP). There are not many routes at 4 and 5 grade.

A lot of routes have soft grade and are good for Onsight. It depends from the area. There where are routes bolted by German and Czech climbers will be more thoughtful.

One more time I repeat - A helmet is highly recommended, especially on vertical/long routes.

Best crags

Approach to the crack is usually short and well-signposted. Some sectors are 20-40 minutes from parking. And there you drive 5-20 minutes from Leonidio. Sectors like Red Rock, Hot Rock, Mars are available 20-30 minutes of walk from Leonidio. If you prefer you can hire bicycle or scooter in the town.

Most popular sectors:


Vertical, red-yellow wall. 15 minutes from parking above the valley of Leonidio.
Routes: up to 40m, 6a – 7a+


40 minutes by walk from Leonidio. The sector is in shade after 13:00, but after 17:00 tufas can be wet...



Katarzyna Miszograj on Tufa Tango 6c, Sector Mars

Routes: up to 40m
Grade: 6a+ to 8a

Twin Caves



Climbing on vertical routes in Twin Caves

This sector is in shade until 11:00 and after 18:00

Adrspach Wall

The Kokkinovrachos multi-pitches

There is 4 sports routes in the lower 6 grade and 12 fully bolted or traditional routes up to 200 meters. Recommended multi-pitches are: Tha Ta Poume 7a, Plug and Play 7a+, Aramis 6c, Mira 6b.

I don’t recommend Pillar of Fire. Its ugly trad (with some bolts) - better take only quickdraws and go for fully bolted routes :-).



Second pitch on Mira 6b

Take necessary gear + water, adequate clothes, and headlight. Best way to go down is rappeling by this same route or go to dedicated rappeling route on the right side of the wall (rappels have 40 m and are marked by red dots).

Other options for rest

- Mountain bike
- Diving in Sea
- visit monasteries of Elona. One hour from Leonidio is Mycenae and Tiryns


There are a lot of climbing sectors in Leonidio. You can find more information and topos here:

More pictures from Leonidio you will find here: Leonidio Gallery.

Damian Granowski

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Mon, 18 Sep 2017 07:52:38 +0000
Eliteclimb Raptor - ice axes made in Poland Alicja w Krainie Czarów WI5 M8. Photo Kuba Poburka

Today I write about something special. Eliteclimb Raptor - lightweight ice axes from carbon fibers. I had the honor to test one of the first prototypes of this tools and some of my ideas are in new Raptors. In this text, I will write something about this ice tools and answer the question: Is this Raptor for You?

Oryginal test (in polish) you will find on

Below small interview with Jarek Walewski (Founder of Eliteclimb)

DG: When Eliteclimb start and what were your inspirations

JW: Company has roots in mountains. The idea was born in the middle of Kazalnica (famous polish winter wall in Tatras) at 2013. Near of our team was climbing team Wojtek Ryczer and Piotr Xięski. Wojtek saw hammer from Kevlar and give the idea of ice tools from that same material. With his help after half of the year, Salamandras axes go with Artur Małek on the expedition to K2.

What was first product?

Of course first was hammer ;). After that were 3 Salamandra tools. Their lucky owners are Artur, Wojtek and me.

In the meantime, I work on a snow shovel. Some prototype goes to polish expedition K2 & Broad Peak Middle in 2014. Another project was ice tool Czarny Łabędź (Black Swan) for Ice World Cup. Tester was Olga Kosek, but the project now is closed, because UIAA changes limit box for Ice tools.

After K2 we create Kruk (Raven) and in this year we have the last version of Raptors.

Great thanks for Artur Małek. His experience in high mountains and lot of winter climbing allows creating great products for mountain terrain.

Say something about technology

In production, we use hybrid carbon and Kevlar composite. Combination of this two materials results in high strength and low weight. Everything is prepared manually.

New Raptor?

Raptor is next step. Before it was Salamandra. Raptor is designed to technical mixt climbing (ice & rock) and dry tooling. It takes 2 years from idea to product. In the first version, geometry was not so good. Ice tool was also too flexible. We change the shape of shaft and picks. 

The purpose was: light weight, great swing, stiff shaft and good to place in ice. I think that now Raptor is good.

What are next products?

We have some ideas. People ask for a combination of ice tool and shovel. Others ask for a typical ice axe.
Interesting can be trekking pools. I have some project in my mind.

How is going on the international market?

Eliteclimbs are recognized in many countries. Salamandras and shovels were used in Romania, Pakistan, USA, UK, Norway, and Switzerland.

A big success was Ouray Ice Festival, where we have been the first polish company. We have some new contacts in America.

Below short movie about production Eliteclimb


Abour Raptors

To 2017 you can buy Kruk and Salamandra. This last one was technical ice tool with a shape like in Petzl Quark and was dedicated to alpine climbing. There wasn’t ice tool like Petzl Nomic or BD Fusion. This empty space fills Raptor.
Raptor is technical ice tool (dedicated to ice and mixt technical climbing) with rounded shape and grip for your hand. It weighs 430 gram.


Construction is “easy”. We have kevlar and tendon coal, also steel pick.
The pick is universal. For rock and ice - in this second terrain we can place steel plates from Nomic to give more weight to our ice tool (better swing). Pick also has a minimal hammer.
At the top of ice tool, we have the hole for carabiners (we can place our tools to harness).
Shaft and grip are from hybrid carbon and Kevlar composite. Everything is profiled for best rigid. At the bottom is an aluminum blade (adze).

One Raptor cost 1300 zł (~270 euro)


How did they perform?

My favorite tools for winter climbing are Petzl Nomics (version 2), which are great construction. So in many cases in this article, I will compare Nomics with Raptors.


First about what you think is weight. First time in my hands I had a feeling that this is plastic :). After some time you get used to but tools are very light.
In total, you have two ice tools with weight 900 grams. In comparison Nomics weight 1270 gram. It is almost 400 grams of difference!

Attack angle

Raptor is designed for mixt and ice climbing in vertical or overhanging terrain. Of course, it will be good also in slab terrain and at roofs.
The shape is similar like in Petzl Nomic or Black Diamond Fusion. But Raptors are a little bit bigger


In hard mixt climbing (especially dry tooling) is important to have “feeeling” of your tools. When you put your weight on small crimps you “feel” if your tool catch hold. Another detail is jamming of your tools. For example, Nomic has a little bit flexible shafts. When you hang on the roof (especially on figure 4 or 9) Nomic can increase his length and return when you lighten. Sometimes in this situation grip of Nomic can jam.

From opposite is Fusion Black Diamond, where a shaft is very rigid. How is with Raptors?

The shaft is also flexible. Maybe smaller than in Nomics, but there is something. But you know - They are built not from an alloy of metal but from hybrid carbon and Kevlar composite. Something
Raptor is leashless, but it has a small hole for something - BD Fusion weight 672 gram and Raptor 430 gram.


Another important point is a grip on your tools. Good ergonomic handle is treasure, which gives us huge benefit on overhanging routes
Grip in Raptors is ok, but not so good like in Petzl Nomics or Cassin X-dream. The shaft in Raptor is covered with special abrasive paint for better grip. But soon (if you climb in overhang routes) or later (if you climb in alpine terrain) this paint go away and friction will be not so good.
At this point, I feel a difference in dry tooling (big overhangs and roofs). Not so bad but Fusion, Nomic and Cassin X-dream have better grip. The solution can be grip tape on the shaft and… training ;).
The shape of the grip for me is too thick (better is in Nomic and X-dream).
Carbon and kevlar grip is better in alpine terrain. This material is warm for your hands and snow did not glue to your shaft.

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Raptor has 3 grip rest. First at the bottom of the handle is quite big and protect our hand from hitting ice&rock. He has a serrated blade which gives us the opportunity to put ice tool in snow (easy terrain).
The second grip rest is at the top of the handle. Third in the middle of the shaft (which is good in easy alpine terrain or in overhang dry tooling routes).



Raptor is leashless, but it has a small hole to put cord there.



I use Raptor 2 winter seasons. Two pairs (prototype and new - actual - version). Last part quite often. I’m curious how strong will be a tool from carbon fibers. Carbon and Kevlar don’t brake suddenly (like a shaft in Nomics a ). First, we hear cracking sound. Maybe in hard dry tooling after years of using you have the chance for that. But in alpine/mixt/ice climbing I doubt. There is not so many force to break your shaft.

Another point is picks

They weigh ~140 gram (almost like in Petzl Nomics). The profile is for ice and mixt climbing in vertical and overhanging terrain. There is only one picks profile (some producents have picks for ice and mixt).
Picks have wide 4mm on the tip. An alloy of picks for me is a little bit softer than in picks from original Nomics. Maybe in this season picks will be harder. One pair of picks cost 25 euro (in Poland).





Dry tooling

I climb with Raptors a lot. Usually in terrain harder than M6. To grade M7+ they are excellent. Good “feeling” of tools and light weight is quite good for this type of dry tooling.
I climb with them in harder terrain - big overhanging routes (also roofs). “Feeling” of your tools is also good.
Problem is with grip. It is not so good like in Nomics or X-dreams. We must use more force of our arms. Maybe a solution is to stretch grip tape on shaft and grip.


Dry tooling on Zakrzówek (Kraków, Poland)

Mixt climbing

I use them usually in Tatras. In rock, they are similar like in dry tooling. Placing your tools in ice, consolidated snow and frozen grass without problems.
Their great advantage is weight :-). On approach and descent, we have almost ~400 grams less in our backpack.


Photo Bartek Szeliga

Climbing in ice

Artur Małek says that Raptors are born for ice :). I didn't climb with them in hard ice (WI5+ and harder) then I don’t have the comparison with Nomic.
I use Raptors more in rock than ice. But I do several hundred meters on icefalls (about 150 of grade WI5+) and they were ok. I climb without pick weights and I think that Nomic is a little bit better on ice.
Unfortunately, I didn’t test with one Raptor and Nomic at one icefall.

Who should use?

Good question. Buying a new pair of ice tools is a big investment in climbing gear. Raptors are specialized tools for:
winter mountaineering, steep technical alpine climbing. Everywhere where we don’t have long routes in overhanging and roofs. Every cent will return on approach and descents.
Big mountain expeditions where weight is crucial.
The light person, where a weight of ice tools is important. For example, girls which weight is under 55 kg.
Climbing on long icefall in water ice.
Climbing in snow/ice couloirs.
For climbers, who prefers climbing in big overhangs and roofs, Raptors will be not so good. The good climber will climb with them, but you will need more grip strength.


Raptors from Eliteclimb are interesting ice tools. If you are rather Mountaineer (to M8) than dry tooling monkey then you should consider this purchase. But if you go too long mountain expedition then buy them ;).

]]> (Damian Granowski) Gear Tue, 08 Aug 2017 06:00:00 +0000
Rock climbing in Poland Rock climbing in Poland

Poland is mostly flat but we have some mountains and rock climbing. I cannot describe all of them (~200), so just I write about best spots where you can do rock climbing. Lucky this locations are very close to big cities like Kraków, Katowice or Wrocław. In a different article, I write about mountaineering in Tatras (the highest polish mountains) - check if you want.

Very quick - like I say. Poland is mostly flat, but on the south side, you have almost 200 climbing areas and probably 15000-20000 routes! You will find in Poland typical rock: limestone, granite, sandstone. Routes have to 30 meters, from 3+ to 9a. You will find sport and trad routes. Generally, all that you need ;). We have also mountaineering, dry tooling, bouldering but I will don’t write here about this. Just only rock climbing.


Rock climbing near of Kraków (Łabajowa Rock in Będkowska Valley)

Below practical info and later bigger description of areas.

Practical info

Poland is a big country with long history. There is a lot of things to see. Good idea is to connect climbing with touring or hiking. Of course, we are climbers then first I will tell you about climbing. At the end of the article, you will find some ideas for a rest day.


Trad climbing on Wronia Baszta (Kobylańska Valley near of Kraków)

Getting there?

Poland has good airplane connections with almost every country in Europe. To Kraków, Katowice and Wrocław fly cheap airlines like Wizzair, Ryanair. At this places, you can rent a Car, but airports have good public transport. From Kraków and Wrocław you can go to crags by public transport! From Katowice, You have a good connection to Kraków, Wrocław, and Częstochowa.
The most comfortable will be traveling motorway by car. Be prepared that polish roads are not so good like in Germany ;). In every bigger climbing area, you will find camping or guest houses.
Be careful and parking only in designated places (the best way to avoid conflicts with locals). Usually, the best places to parking you will find in guidebooks. Good option to check a status of the crag is on website (Our Crags). Something like American Acces Fund. On you will find info and status of different crags
Approach to crags depends from the area - on Jura it should not take more than 30 minutes (rare is 40-60 minutes), on Sokoliki 25-45 minutes.


Granite climbing in Sokoliki

Accommodation and food

Accommodation opportunities depend from a place. But almost everywhere you will find private rooms and in most popular crag areas will be campsite or hostel.
In the most cases sleeping in the woods is not allowed. There are some places like Kobylańska Valley (free campsite in the Valley) or in Podlesice, but the better option will be to use (cheap) campsites (2-3 euro for tent, 5-7 euro for a bed in the house).
On my climbing school website, I wrote two articles about accommodation near of Kraków and Sokoliki. Articles are in Polish… but you can use Google Translator and Google Maps ;).
Accommodation and eating near of Kraków
Accommodation and eating near of Sokoliki

Generally in every place is no problem with finding grocery shops. In bigger cities (even villages) will be a market.
Popular crags areas are places where is a lot of people, then you will find there some restaurant (check my articles about Kraków and Sokoliki).


View from Krzywa Turnia (Sokoliki)


Almost every crag in Poland is in the guidebook and descriptions are quite good :-). We don’t have guidebooks in English, but I think that every climber with a quarter of the brain will know how to use books :). In guidebooks, you will find maps, GPS locations (crag and parking), approach patches and short notifications “How to Use the Guide” in English.
The most popular (and very actually) are:

Jura Południowa, Grzegorz Rettinger [South part of Jura (near of Kraków)]
Jura Środkowa, Grzegorz Rettinger [Middle part of Jura (near of Zawiercie)]
Jura Północna, Grzegorz Rettinger [North part of Jura (near of Rzędkowice)]
Jura 2, Paweł Haciski [South & part of Middle Jura (Kraków to Olkusz)]
Jura 3, Paweł Haciski [North & part of Middle Jura (Częstochowa to Smoleń)]

Góry Sokole, Michał Kajca
Rudawy Janowickie, Michał Kajca [out of sale, but this summer should be new edition]

Podkarpacie - Przewodnik wspinaczkowy, Jacek Trzemżalski [South-east part of Poland).
Hejszowina - Przewodnik wspinaczkowy


Climbing on Sokolik Mały

Where to buy?

You will buy a proper guidebook in this places:
Campsite 9up (Sokoliki), Tabor pod Krzywą (Sokoliki), Trafo Base Camp in Podlesice (North Jura), in Gliwice (very near to A4 motorway), KsiążkiGór (climbing bookstore (also online) in Kraków), (online climbing bookstore).

Another option is Big Brother Google. A lot of crags topo is available online. Highly recommended are websites like:,,, (my website with topo of multipitch climbing in Tatras). But the best website is Portalgorski with its topo base of polish crags! You also have dedicated App ;).
Last but not least - Watch out! Advertise ;). If you want help then write an email to Me. I will try to advise you the best option for classic climbs in Poland.
You can also hire me to be your Climbing Guide or Instructor. Check my offer on this page: Climbing Courses in Poland.


Trad climbing on Malinowa Rock (Rudawy Janowickie

Best season for climbing

In Poland, you can climb all year, but for Rock Climbing best season is from April to September. One important thing - Our climate doesn't have something like “long period of stable weather”. It is mostly random and I can just tell you that some months probably will be ok, but you never know ;). Generally is ok, last long period with big rains was in 2009 (almost one month of rain and floods) ;). Usually 1-3 days of rain (Mostly light rain).

January-February-March: We have winter. Sometimes you can climb, when are better periods of good weather. These periods are very random and temperatures are from 0-10°C (mostly below zero). But this is a good time for dry tooling.
April-May: There is spring but weather can be random. Usually, the temperature will be from 10-30°C but can be also 0-10°C in some days. Spring in Poland has good weather, not so many rainy days (usually storms) and temperatures are quite good for hard climbing. In this time Jura is very beautiful with fresh green grass and trees.
June-July (and two weeks of August): The hottest (20-35°C) and most wet (storms) time of the year. But like I say before, usually, it is a storm, then you can climb very quickly after rain. But shit happens and you can have 2-4 days of heavy rain. But mostly you must search for crags in shadow because Sun is too hot.
The second part of August-September: Probably best time for climbing in Poland (if you are a serious climber). A few rainy days, good temperature (10-25°C), rare storms and autumn in our country is wonderful.
October: For hard climbing is very good (5-20°C). Not so many rainy days (but happens that 2-3 days of rain). Days are shorter and sometimes crags in deep Valleys (like near of Kraków) can be wet (morning fog).
November-December: For rock climbing not recommended time: a lot of rainy days, low temperatures, short days. But a good time for dry tooling ;).


Sukiennice in Sokolikie. One of the best crags in Poland

Climbing in Poland

You will find here almost 200 hundred crag areas with 15-20k routes (mostly sport, but you will find also nice trad routes). Difficulties between 3 and 9a (even 9a/a+). We have three main type of rock: limestone (Jura), granite (Sokoliki and Rudawy) and sandstone (Podkarpacie and Hejszowina).
Routes are to 30 meters high, but average high is 15-25 meters. We have almost rock formation what climber need to live. There are some higher crags like Sokolica, Łysina or Żabi Koń where you have multipitch climb (usually well bolted).

rock climbing in poland map

Polish limestone has challenging routes on tiny holds with worse friction than the one found in most of the climbing spots in the Western Europe. Jura has a lot of small pockets (worse than on Frankenjura) and on harder routes, this pockets will be your footholds. Watch your fingers! I promise that after climbing trip to Poland your strength in fingers and footwork will improve ;).
Typical Polish route (at grade 6b-7b, ~20m) in white limestone is vertical with small crimps, pockets, small footholds and endurance climbing. We don’t have many overhanging routes like in Spain, but there is some climbing in roofs. Don’t dream about climbing on tufas in Poland ;).
Granite in Sudety (Sokoliki) are roughly and they have a lot of crimps and cracks. Cracks are not like in Yosemite where you have only cracks... and jamming is mandatory. In Sokoliki lot of (not every) routes have cracks, crimps, jugs and other holds.
Usually, grades have been given in the Kurtyka Scale. Below is a table with the comparison.

Skala trudności wspinaczkowych - porównanie, tabelka 

Routes are equipment in rings. Belay stances are from 2 rings and chain. Nowadays is very rare to have a route with old protection (especially bolts in limestone).
There is some outstanding trad climbing - most of them in Sokoliki, Hejszowina (sandstone) and Tatras (multipitch). But some of them are on Jura and this limestone trad climb is mode demanding (irregular crack, then you must use nuts and hexes).


Limestone climbing in Bolechowice Valley (near of Kraków)

What gear do you need?

Standard rope in Poland is single 60m. 13-15 quickdraws should be enough. On polish limestone, the best are climbing shoes with a hard sole and sharp tip (a lot of small pockets). The standard for belays are 2 ring + chain and routes are well equipment.

For trad climbing gear rack:

- set of cam (to #4 Camalot Black Diamond) on harder trad routes set of microfriends.
- set of nuts
- set of slings
- some alpine quickdraws

On Jura (limestone) better than cams are hexes (irregular cracks).


The most popular area for climbers in Poland is the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland (in Polish: Jura Krakowsko Częstochowska). These limestone crags are located between Kraków and Częstochowa. Very good access from Kraków (airport) and Katowice (airport).
For climbers, Jura has 3 sections: South (10-40 from Kraków), Middle (50-60 km from Kraków and Katowice) and North (50-100 from Kraków and Katowice). Every area has almost the same type of limestone ( the difference is usually with the size of pockets and… slippery). A lot of crags are hidden in the forest, but many are on hills with an outstanding view!


Rock climbing on Jura

The best places on Jura

South Jura
Będkowska Valley (Dolina Będkowska). Crags: Dupa Słonia, Sokolica, Łabajowa, Wysoka, Brandysowa
Bolechowicka Valley (Dolina Bolechowicka)
Kobylańska Valley (Dolina Kobylańska). Crags: Żabi Koń, Zjazdowa Turnia, Wronia Baszta, Sępia Baszta
Kluczwoda Valley (Dolina Kluczwody). Crags: Jaskinia Mamutowa (Mammoth Cave), hardest polish routes in roof.
Others: Pochylec, Słoneczne Skały, Dolina Brzoskwinii, Skiała nad Potokiem
Last but not least. In Kraków (near city center) you have 2 old quarries (Zakrzówek, Krzemionki) where the journey is quick, and even if you have 2-4 hours you can climb ;).
Local climbers go after work to crags near of Kraków (20-30 min by car or 20-60 min by public transport).

Middle Jura
A lot of crags in the forest.
Pazurek, Podzamcze, Zegarowe Skały, Goncerzyca.

North Jura
There are more crags on hills. Rock has more pockets than on South Jura.
Olsztyn, Mirów, Rzędkowice, Łutowiec, Góra Zborów, Góra Kołoczek, Biblioteka, Jastrzębnik, Okiennik Skarżycki, Góra Birów


Kobylańska Valley (near of Kraków)

Góry Sokole is the north-west edge of Rudawy Janowickie, but is often regarded as a distinct location. The rocks here are also granite, and the area is subdivided into three regions: Krzyżna Góra, Rejon Sokolika and Rejon Sukiennic, all of which are also a part of Rudawy Landscape Park.
This small mountain range offers best granite climbing in Poland (I don’t include multipitch climbing in Tatras). On this area is ~1000 sport and trad routes (also multipitch climbing to 60 meters).

Best crags in Sokoliki and Krzyżna Góra
Sukiennice, Krzywa Turnia, Sokolik Wielki, Sokolik Mały, Tępa, Jastrzębia Turnia.

Rudawy Janowickie
Rudawy Janowickie is a mountain range in the Western Sudetes, fairly close to the border with the Czech Republic and Germany. It’s located about 100 kilometres west of Wrocław and is enclosed by Rudawy Landscape Park (Rudawski Park Krajobrazowy). The mountain range is commonly divided into four regions: Rejon Zamku Bolczów, Grupa Fajki, Grupa Skalnego Mostu and Starościńskie Skały, each of which offers numerous granite rocks, higher than the limestone peaks in Jura. Lot of climbing in Rudawy are on trad. Also area is bigger than Sokoliki - You will have longer approach to crags.


Granite slabs in Rudawy Janowickie (Starościńskie Skały)

Best crags in Rudawy Janowickie
Starościńskie Skały, Malinowa, Fajka

Other places
In Poland you will find more (small) crag area. I will mention about most popular and recommended to climb.

Sandstone areas
Probably best sectors are: Rożnów (close to Nowy Sącz), Kamień Leski (near of Sanok) and Czarnorzeki (close to Rzeszów). This second should be better (more routes).
On the Lower Silesia (border between Poland and Czech Republic) is Hejszowina, where are big sandstone walls. But protection is from rings (long distance between them) and knots :). Like in Czech: Ardspach and Teplice.

sandstone rock climbing poland

Sandstone sport climbing in Czarnorzeki (near of Rzeszów)


Climbing in Tatras (more info here: Mountaineering in Tatras)

I hope that this article was helpful for you. If you have any question then contact with me. Also I'm climbing instructor then if you want I can be your guide on polish crags or you can take part in my climbing courses near of Kraków or Sokoliki. Check there for more information: Climbing Courses in Poland.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:57:42 +0000
Winter in Donegal Winter in Donegal

Winter in Ireland is a very fleeting mistress with a sudden drop in the ambient air temperature and an even swifter rise in temperature, Winter conditions in the Irish mountains can come and go in a single day. It is when a period of extended cold weather hits the Emerald Isle, it is then that its mountains are transformed into a true winter wonderland. The online winter climbing guide is found at

At the northern end of The Derryveagh Mountains in County Donegal lives a huge flat topped mountain called Muckish named from the Irish, Mucais or an Mhucais, meaning the pig's back. The south face of the mountain holds the easiest and most popular route to it’s huge flat topped summit. The north face of Muckish is a completely different beast as the entire face is dominated by a huge steep sided corrie. This corrie holds the remains of the ancient mining works used long ago to extract the high grade quartz sand from the mountain, the sand was then used to produce high quality glass.



Looking for Donegal Ice

The old miners track into the corrie provides an excellent and easy summer navigation route into the corrie and up onto the summit of the mountain. When winter hits county Donegal this corrie is transformed into an outstanding winter mountaineering venue. The steep normally wet sides of the corrie freeze and are plastered with snow. With a few freeze/ thaw cycles this snow soon consolidates and is quickly transformed into superb neve. This neve provides outstanding underfoot conditions for winter walking into this magnificent corrie. The miners track is quite steep in places and a single walking axe and crampons are recommended as the track weaves it’s way up and through several amazing but steep gullies to the huge summit plateau.


Unclimbed Winter Ground

From the summit of Muckish Mountain the views are vast, uninterrupted and breathtaking as far as the eye can see towards the Slievetooey massif to the South, the Inishowen Peninsula to the North and the surrounding Derryveagh mountains.

Poisoned Glen climbing

Poisoned Glen in the Derryveagh Mountains is by far the most outstanding winter climbing venue in Donegal and a contender for the best in Ireland. This wall of north-facing cliff stretches for over a kilometre and reaches a height of 400m at its highest point on The Bearnas Buttress. The cliff is seamed with deep wet gullies and hidden vertical water courses and given the correct winter conditions it will provide many lifetimes of icy climbing potential. Alas when the glen comes into excellent condition it is prone to temperature inversion which can allow for good conditions for the walk in but means an early start to avoid the midday thaw on the high faces.


Errigal Topo

Errigal Mountain is Donegal’s highest point. Its south ridge route is climbed by thousands of walkers on an annual basis. Under winter conditions this mountain provides exceptional winter mountaineering routes on its exposed north, west and east faces. The climbing is mainly mixed climbing on faces and arêtes with the north face providing the excellent 200m long, grade III Tower Ridge.


Slieve Snaght Summit

The North face of Mac Uchta, Errigal’s next door neighbour provides a collection of steep snow gullies all in the lower grade in a spectacular and lonely setting.

The north face of Maumlack high above the shores of Lough Croloughan provides an easy accessed venue with a reliable collection of water ice routes.

The huge, remote and mildly intimidating north face of Slieve Snaght in the Derryveagh Mountains, provides a selection of excellent low grade winter climbs in a superb and atmospheric location.


Maumlack Topo

The Horseshoe Coire is a huge steep sided corrie immediately to the northwest of Lough Barra in the Derryveagh mountains and provides many steep water courses and falls. The potential for further winter routes here is enormous alas it is south-facing and requires a prolonged deep freeze.


Square Cut Gully

The above locations are just a small sample of the winter climbing available when conditions allow, with many more less reliable venues scattered throughout the county’s mountain ranges. Check also Scotland.

Iain Miller is a rock climber living working and playing on the sea cliffs, sea stacks, uninhabited islands and mountain ranges of County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. The climbers guide to Donegal is

Mountain Base Mon, 06 Feb 2017 07:05:01 +0000
BD Cyborg crampons, after 4 years– Long Term Review BD Cyborg crampons, after 4 years– Long Term Review

This year my Black Diamond Cyborg crampons will be retired – after four years and kilometres of climbing in ice and rock:-). I think is good time to do some review this all-round crampons.

Here you have description from Black Diamond Company


Designed for technical ice routes and steep mixed climbing, the Black Diamond Cyborg Pro Crampons feature a lightweight stainless steel design that enhances durability and protects against rusting and snowballing.

The adjustable, hooded front points bite hard in vertical water ice and provide precise edging while dry tooling

Can be set up with either dual or single points

The rear heel clip features a micro-adjustment system for a secure fit

Dual-density ABS plates keeps snow from sticking to the bottom of these crampons

Ideal for steep ice and mixed climbing

Item #BLD0483

Tech Specs

Material: steel

Boot Compatibility

step-in Front Points dual

Number of Points: 12

Anti-balling plates: yes

Claimed Weight[pair]: 1120 gram

Recommended Use: ice/mixed climbing, mountaineering

Manufacturer Warranty1 year

Mixed climbing (on ski tour boots) in Tatras.. Fot. Cezary Klus

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Climbing Review

Cyborgs are crampons dedicated to ice/mixed climbing and mountaineering. We have choice to use in them mono or dual point, which is great advantage for different type of climbing. In fact you have 3 different types of crampons! If you want a single crampon that can climb in three different modes and you don’t mind a little extra weight, the Cyborg should be your type.

Personally I prefer mono point (especially in Tatra mountains). Dual point usually I used on snow type climbing routes.

I climb with them in different types of mountaineering boots: TNF Verto S6K (here you have outdoor review), TNF Verto Extreme S6K (here you have outdoor review), Dynafit TLT 3 (skitour boots) and Bestard Fitz Roy. Cyborgs stay well on this boots (but on other types could be different).

Also my friend says that they perfect fit to: Boreal Stetind, La Sportiva Trango ALP Gtx, Batura 2.0 and Dynafit tlt5.

I prefer monopoint system, then I cut hole in antibot plates to better set single point. Unfortunately it was difficult to proper cut this hole. After 1-2 hours (and involves a hacksaw) of working I achieved success… But in crampons for 200 bucks producent should prepare something better.

You can place single point without cutting hole in your snow plate, but it will be more demanding for your calf to stay on small footholds and holes in ice.


Front of my Cyborg before retiring ;-). Photo Damian Granowski

In general if You climb usually on mono point, then maybe better choice will be to buy Black Diamond Stinger Crampons (960 gram pair). 

Cyborg has heel clip features a micro-adjustment system for a secure fit, but after 3 years of using I have problem with them. Steel wire “jump” in plastic hole when I placed crampons on my boot. After that it was loose on my heel. I solved this problem with climbing tape, but… you know… crampons for 200 $...


Photo Damian Granowski

Strap are quite long, then you can cut them for your shoes. 

I climb in them routes to M10 and WI6. They stay well on foot and small crimps, penetrate ice and frozen grass. What else you need :-)?

Ice climbing in Tatras. Photo Bartłomiej Szeliga

Weight of Cyborg (pair)

Monopoint – no antibot – 940 gram

Dual Point – no antibot – 1000 gram

Dual Point – with antibot – 1120 gram

If you want a single crampon that can climb in three different modes and you don’t mind a little extra weight, the Cyborg might be the your choice. Especially on steep ice and winter mixed climbing.


Here you have another option for old crampons. Front designed by Rzeszowska Kuźnia Szpeju for ~200 złoty (50 euro).


]]> (Damian Granowski) Gear Sat, 14 Jan 2017 07:53:14 +0000
Eiger / Heckmair Route ED2 (classic!) Eiger / Heckmair Route ED2 (classic!)

There are routes which every alpine climber want to do. One of them is Heckmair Route on North Face of Eiger, biggest wall in The Alps. Wall with history – before the first ascent in 1938, there died some climbers and wall has new nickname „Mordwand”. Today Heckmair Route is hard classic alpine route and usually teams needs 2 days of climbing. But speed record is below 3 hours…

We (Michał Dorocicz and Damian Granowski) climb North Face of Eiger in 2016 (22-23 March). Below you have description and topo of Heckmair Route. Original article (in polish) you will find here:

Grade: ED2, V+, WI4. On Heckmair Route are fixed lines (Hinterstoiser Traverse, etc.), but if You want to climb everything free then prepare for M7+ (in good conditions).
Length: 4 km and 1800 meters of denivelation
Time: 1-2 days. Usually two days.
Localization: North Face of Eiger / Grindelwald (Switzerland)
Character: snow/ice fields 50-70 degrees, chimneys, mixt,
First ascent: 1938, 20-24 July - Heinrich Harrer, Anderl Heckmair, Fritz Kasparek and Ludwig Vörg.
First one-day ascent: 1950 - Leo Forstenlechner and Erich Wascak (18 hours).
First winter ascent: 1961, 6-12 March - Walter Almberger, Toni Hiebeler, Toni Kinshofer and Anderl Mannhardt.

These days the most popular time for climbing on North Face of Eiger is late autumn, winter, and early spring. In summer – due to global warming – conditions are not good. A lot of loose rock (which in winter are frozen) and falling stones.

Here you have some tips:

Heckmair Route isn’t extreme alpine route but rather “hard alpine classic” but don’t disrespect difficulties.
- In general, the route is hard, rock is rotten with demanding protection. You will find old pitons, some bolts. On harder pitches protection is better.
- falling stones. In summer much more
- There are some fixed lines but be careful. Some of them are not in good shape ;)
- Do proper acclimatization. In higher parts of the route, you must be quick. Maybe tray something easy and quick (like Breithorn).
- Go when conditions are ok.
- Almost half of the route you do on simul-climbing. Take good partner...

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To Grindenwald go by your own car (40 euros for a vignette on a highway). There you will find accommodation on campings (10-15 euro) or apartments (from 60 franks).

Grindelwald lay on 1000 m a.s.l.. The base of Eiger North Face on 2160 m a.s.l.. The best option is to go by small historic train. You go to Kleinescheidegg (2000 m) and after that to station Eigergletscher.
From there we go to base of the wall (short traverse).


Fototopo of Heckmair Route. Credits: Damian Granowski


The first part of the route (about 800 meters) is “easy” and in good conditions, you can go to Difficult Crack almost free solo.
We start on the right side of First Pillar (about 200 meters) and follow the easiest line. There are many variations, but all are quite easy (with some short rock sections).

After 150 meters (at the Shattered Pillar height) we go to the right and soon to the left. Traverse on snow ledges and when you will be on snowfield (with overhang wall above) then you go 50 meters to right.
There will be Difficult Crack (Belay pegs, old slings).

Difficult Crack is… well Difficult, even if has V- (M5+). One pitch and we are on Belay. From there you go to the left to small rock Dihedral. After that, you have easy snow terrain which leads you to Hinterstoisser Traverse.

Climbing after the Difficult Crack. Photo: Michał Dorocicz

Travers is very hard for mixed climbing. Almost without steps and holds. After 30 seconds I decided to aid this :-). There are 60 meters of fixed lines (traverse and small chimney). Pitch end on belay on beginning First Icefield.

On The Hinterstoisser Traverse. Photo: Michał Dorocicz

We go 100 meters (snow/ice to 55 degrees) to the upper right, where is Ice Hose. 20 meters of Icefall (if you have good conditions something about WI3-4). 30 m above Icefall you will find “good” belay on the big boulder.

Now we are on Second Ice Field. We go straight ahead to rocks. After that run to the left, across the icefield to the upper left corner. There climb chimney, groove and easy terrain to the Death Bivvy.

Michał Dorocicz on the Second Ice Field

On the Death Bivvy, you will find a place (snow ledge) for 4 persons. Clean rock and lot of old pegs and bolts. At the 18.00 pm, there will be sun ;-).
The Death Bivvy is probably the best place to spend a night, but if you are here very early (14-15.00) then try to push The Ramp and spend a night on Traverse of Gods.

From the Death Bivvy, we traverse to a big ramp. There are 4-5 pitches (circa 150 m) of climbing. Including Ice Chimney (M7 in good conditions, a lot of pitons). In the middle of The Ramp is Spanish Bivvy, but is weak…

Begining of the Ramp

Above the Ice chimney is one small wall – hard and demanding. After that is easy climbing in snow and ice. We go to the start of Brittle Ledges (possibly bivy). Traverse them to start of the Brittle Crack – one V+ pitch with quite good rock (especially after The Brittle Ledges).

Climbin above the Ice Chimney. Photo: Michał Dorocicz

After the Brittle Crack, you will find a flat place for a bivy (one team). I'm not sure, but place probably is windy. And then you have The Traverse of the Gods. 150 meters to The White Spider. Quite exposed but easy (max IV).

The Traverse of the Gods

You reach The White Spider, Snow/Ice field in the upper part of the wall. From there retreat was difficult. Climb 150 m to the right (big Gully). Be careful not to go to left, big corner with ice – but hard.
Once more 150 meters of climbing in a gully and you will be at the base of The Quartz Crack. Difficult (IV+. SIC!?) chimney.
After that you traverse to the left and climb a small crack to the big pulpit. Here you will find fixed lines which lead you to the Exit Chimneys.

The Exit Chimneys can be pretty hard (but only IV) in weak conditions. Climb them 3-4 pitches (circa 150 m) to the easier terrain which leads you to snow / ice field. Above them will be a ridge.


Ridge is easy and in good conditions you won’t need rope. To summit, you need 15-20 minutes of climbing.

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If you want more mountaineering topo articles in future, then click to like funpage :)

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Below movie from Heckmair Route (2014 - Tomasz Klimczak and Maciej Janczar)


and master Ueli Steck...


Climbing Gear for Heckmair Route

We had double 60 m rope, but I think that better will be single 60 m rope (for climbers who have enough experience).
- 10 quickdraws (5 alpine quickdraws)
- set C3 Camalots
- set DMM Dragons (to yellow)
- 7 Wallnuts DMM
- 3 ice screws (blue one size)

No pitons were taken and we didn't feel we needed any.

My personal rack:

- 2 Raptors (Elite climb Ice tool)
- BD Cyborg Crampons (monopoint)
- light Mammut helmet
- CT Ascent Harness
- Fixe Frog Belay Device
- 3 CT hms
- TNF Verto S6k Extreme, double boots
- El Cap Montano Softshell
- adidas Terrex ndosphere jacket (primaloft)
- adidas terrex GTX Active Shell
- adidas Terrex icefeather pant
- Cortina Montano
- under wear clothing (Bruebeck and Odlo)
- Monkeys Grip Gloves (model DT and PowerLoad)
- Smartwool soocks

Bivvy gear:

- Jetboil + gas
- sleeping bag
- mat
- bivvy bag
- food (sweets, 2-3 freeze-dried meals)

Descent from Eiger

We descent by normal route on Eiger (West Face). In good conditions descent took circa 3 hours (to Eigergletscher). Here you will find more info: Eiger West Face.


]]> (Damian Granowski) Mountain Base Tue, 01 Nov 2016 19:32:54 +0000
Best ice climbing in Norway Photo: Thomas Senf

Norway is Mecca for Ice Climbers from around the World. Tousands of icefalls and excellent conditions in winter. In this article you will find some propositions for unforgettable ice climbing holidays. In Norway you can find routes from single pitch up to 800-1000 m in length (sic!). If your an experienced ice climber then Norway is a trip of a lifetime :-).

Climbing ice on the coasts of Norway has its specialities: Due their proximity to the sea the icefalls in the western fjords are bent are twisted creations. Massive storms, drastic changes in temperature, and the resulting fast freeze thaw cycles combine with long spells of warmth and rain lead to insane ice creations.

Coming to Norway without solid planning and an eye to the weather means playing roulette with your travel budget: you run the risk of experiencing a period of rain and thaw and the objects of your journey simply vanish in the changing conditions.

Rjukan – Telemark Region

This is the best location in Norway to find stable ice climbing conditions (November – March) and icefalls at all skill level. Rjukan in deep valley with over 150 established ice climbs all concentrated in a very small area and is easy to reach just 2.5 hr drive from Oslo (airport). In city Rjukan you will find accommodation.

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New this year Rjukan has one of the nicest Ice Parks where they “farming” fresh ice just 5 minute walk from our beautiful lodge the Climbing. In general You will need a car to get around the area if you do not want to be limited to the routes close to the town centre. The vast majority of the routes are all within 20 km of 
the town.

Icefall Lipton WI7. Photo: Andrzej Makarczuk /

Classic single or multi-pitch routes range from easy WI 3 – WI 6 and all approaches are generally short and logistically easy. There is also an alpine skiing centre at Gaustablikk

Below nice movie "Rjukan Ice Paradise" by polish director Jan Wierzejski


Hemsedal – Buskerud Region

If you want to combine Ice Climbing and Skiing then Hemsedal is the best choice. Here you have plenty of classic routes and one of Norway’s better ski areas all in the same valley. Routes at all levels but not the plethora that can be found in other parts of Norway.

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Gudvangen in western Norway is home to several world-class routes. These lines provide around 1000 meter of continuous steep ice-climbing. Some of the lines are climbed, but the greatest line was still untouched before Robert Jasper introduced his climbing ethics to Norway

Eidfjord – Hordaland Region


Måbødalen - Eidfjor. Photo: Matthias Scherer (source)

Eidfjord is considered a must visit location for ice climbers who want to explore new routes or just experience huge steep icefalls. It is a beautiful small village within the fantastic Hardangar Fjord. Here you can climb ice routes above the fjord and have access to long classic routes.


Northern Norway – Lofoten, Lyngen Alps, or Bodø

This remote region offers an abundance of established challenges, as well as considerable potential for new routing. The dark winter days north of the Polar Circle allows for climbing all winter but this area is best in late February – March when the light comes back and gives long enough days to climb these routes without having to climb by headlamp. But prepare for long approach.

Wspinaczka lodowa w Norwegii

Climbing in Lyngen Alps. Photo. Hannes Mair (source)

Hidden Gems

If your looking for a real adventure and want to climb some first ascents in Norway then is good area for you.  This kind of trip requires special planning and probably help from local climbers.

Check also Scotland.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:35:47 +0000
10 of the Best Ice and Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe 10 of the Best Ice and Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe

Europe is home to a lot of hiking and climbing trips. Compared to other regions, Europe has the most mountain ranges that are conveniently spread throughout the continent. Whatever country you’re visiting in Europe, chances are, you will only be a few hours drive from a good climbing spot.


Sardinia, Italy


Despite being a really small island, Sardinian is quickly becoming a climber's favourite. Its mild temperature in winter makes this place a great place to escape the scorching heat of the sun.

Sardinia is bolted with almost 4,000 sport routes and 1,000 multi-pitches. It is thanks to the efforts of veteran climbers and passionate locals who want to create climbing problems for all grades that Sardinia is now a climber’s haven.

Lofoten Islands, Norway


Lofoten Islands is a small island chain that is 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is home to some of the best climbs in Europe.

The mountains in Lofoten Islands aren't very high but they are the most beautiful in the region. The highest peak, Higraftindan, reaches only 1,161 meters but the fact that they rise straight from the sea makes this peak awe-inspiring and extraordinary in its own right.

Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland


Ulamertorsuaq has 4 peaks with heights of 1,858 metres, 1843 meters, 1829 meter, and 1825 meters. The 1,843 metres high peak is the most popular among climbers because of the challenge its perpendicular cliff presents. It is also favoured due to its extremely firm granite structure that is similar to other summits such as Napasorsuaq and Ketil.

Dolomites, Italy


Dolomites is a mountain range located northeast of Italy. They are part of the Southern Limestone Alps, and extend from the River Adige to Piave Valley. The uniqueness of the landscape offered by the mountains of Dolomites has allowed the place to be considered a World Heritage Site.

Kalymnos, Greece


Kalymnos is a Greek Island in the Southeastern Aegean Sea. It offers rock climbing and bouldering the whole year round but it is commonly visited during the summer months because Greek locals like to escape the mainland heat. At the end of October, colder winds come in from the north and bring winter, making this a popular destination for winter climbers.

Glymsgil, Iceland


Glymsgil is often compared to the Box Canyon in Colorado. Glymsgil, like its American counterpart, is one of the best ice climbing destinations in the world. A lot of good routes exist here, with the best weather coming in from December to February.

Frontier Ridge, France


Frontier Ridge houses a mountain called Mont Maudit, which is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massic in France and Italy. Mont Maudit literally means "cursed mountain" due to the fact that its terrains are extremely difficult to traverse. Mount Maudit stands at 4,465 meters, and can be extremely unforgiving when it comes to the weather.

Samaria Gorge, Greece


Samaria Gorge is a national park in Greece. The gorge is in the southwest of Crete in the regional retreat of Chania, and it was formed over many years by a small river running between the White Mountains and Mt. Volakias. There are several terrains here for mountaineers to enjoy and explore.

Múlafjall, Iceland


Múlafjall is a popular climbing area near Reykjavík. It has a 1.5-mile long cliff face, with dozens of routes of varying grades for different climbers.

Cullen Ridge, Scotland


Cullen Ridge, which is located on the Isle of Sky, has over 30 peaks. None of the peaks are high in altitude or difficult to climb, making it the perfect spot for novice climbers.

Climbing has become a popular activity over the years thanks not only to the enthusiasts who blog about their feats but to the media as well who cover events. Apart from high profile news coverage and magazine features, the media has acknowledged climbing’s popularity by creating TV shows and games based on the pursuit.

Reel Rock is one of the most popular television shows that covers climbing which followed Emmy-winning adventure filmmakers Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer on some of their most daring attempts to capture exhilarating sites.

There's also the video game The Climb, which is a virtual-reality climbing gaming title. The Climb has adopted the revolutionary VR headsets in an attempt to innovate the virtual climbing experience. For casuals who aren’t fond of VR tech, there are several titles that use climbing as their core theme. Hosted on gaming and slot site Betfair there are titles such as Ice Run and the popular Wild Gambler: Arctic Adventure, both of which are a nod to the dangerous yet equally rewarding lives of climbers.

No matter what the generation, climbing will always garner a strong following, not just because this thrill seeking activity gets mainstream coverage, but because there will always be adventurers looking to conquer challenging climbs.

Do you have a favourite climbing spot? Let us know which you feel are the best in the world in our comments section below.

Image credit: all images obtained from Pixabay

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:18:26 +0000