Euro Summer / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

After a wet and very unsettled Spring/Summer, with a little too much flitting around the world, it has been a welcome change to be living out of my van again, in the full blown heat of Summer... Being able to focusing purely on climbing again and getting super fit for my season in Yosemite this Autumn. After three days at the Outdoor Trade show in Germany, Ben and I escaped to the peaceful and beautiful Ceuse - It is still one of my most favorite places in the world! Even in the midsummer rush when there are people everywhere and often queues for the popular routes, this place seems to maintain its serene atmosphere. While being up at the crag, I feel like I am removed from everyday life, looking down at the rest of the world... A little like being in the mountains.

Sunrise at Ceuse

The first few days were brutal... I felt like I was just getting destroyed by everything I tried, from 7a's to 8a's, they all felt absolutely desperate. For me, this was hard to handle, because the last time I had been there (in 2009) I was fit, used to the style and crushing everything. However, it only took a few days or my muscles to remember how to climb at Ceuse, and the last few days were amazing.

A rest day hike/run up Mt Brevant...

Mt Blanc from Brevant, while going for a rest day hike/run...

However, before I managed to get really accustomed to the style (and hour long hike to the cliff) at Ceuse, I decided to move on. I headed for Chamonix, offering bigger mountains, higher altitudes, longer routes and even granite cracks... Well, I was hoping to get on the granite, but unfortunately the weather has not quite been cooperating. I have managed  to climb many pitches and cover a large amount vertical meters in the last week, which is actually exactly what I was wanting!

Sunrise on the Fitz

The last adventure was climbing "Dret dans l'Pentu" a fairly sustained 8 pitch route (crux 7b+) on Fiz (Pointe d'Ayeres), with Martina - A beautiful limestone peak just down the valley from Chamonix. It was a big day, starting with a two hour hike up the mountainside, of which the last half-hour was a scramble over horrifyingly loose scree slopes above decent sized cliffs - Where any wrong move would have ended very badly...

Martina seconding the devious 7b pitch near the top of the route

However, we survived and the route itself was incredible, diverse and engaging, with beautiful views of Mt Blanc and the surrounding valley. Now I have a few more days in Chamonix, before heading back to Germany and then back to Colorado, for some more climbing at altitude... The Diamond!

Martina and I on the summit of