25 November 2013

Climbing in Limski Kanal, Croatia

For our last two days in Croatia, we found some truly spectacular climbing in Limski Kanal. Situated right along a tributary from the Adriatic Sea, these limestone walls were truly a climbers paradise. With so many routes in the 5s and 6s, we had our pick of high-quality, highly rated climbs. That's not to say that we didn't have good climbing the other days in Croatia, but....okay, fine, once we landed in Limski we could definitely admit the previous climbing had been pretty sheit by comparison.

Beautiful, interesting limestone

This is what love looks like

Pretty awesome view

On the first day we had the crag completely to ourselves. Quickly pairing off, I think we all put up 8 routes that day. Impressive, given that two of those routes required the full use of our 70m ropes. The climbs were long, sustained, but most of all super fun.

Sarah leading the way: day 2 at left, day 1 at right
Ed's rock bite

Linnea showing of her guns; Playing on the sharp end of the rope

At the end of our first day, I decided to put on my big-girl-pants and try to on-site a 6a+, which is equivalent to a 10c. I've only ever led one other 10c outside (in Mexico) and that was after sending it clean on top-rope. This would be my first true 10c onsite.

I'm happy to report: it went! I got it clean and came down super stoked. Maybe I will be able to lead an 11a in time to check it off of the 30 Before 30 List! 

Warming up day 2; My first 10c on-site.

This giant grasshopper was cheering me on

For our last night in Rovinj (after our first day of climbing in Limski), we had dinner at the amazing Sidro Restaurant, owned by the fellow who rented us the AirBnB apartment. Should you find yourself in Rovinj, go to Sidro and ask for Vanja and tell him we said hello. The food was delicious, the view was incredible, and the hospitality was far and above what was expected or necessary. The perfect place to spend your last night in climbers paradise.

The view from Sidro

Party boar


Happy Climbers

Thanks everyone for reading my (obnoxious) blogs about Croatia. And thanks to Sarah, Linnea, and Ed for an amazing trip. Who's ready for Thailand Christmas 2014?!?!

19 November 2013

Cliff Jumping in the Adriatic Sea

In my last post I told you about rock climbing near Pula, and now here's how we spent the rest of our day - swimming in the Adriatic Sea! 

Croatia is kind of shaped like a sideways "u" (if you turn it 110 degrees to the right). Most people are familiar with Split and Dubrovnik, which are along the SW side of the country. Across the water from Italy, Croatia is not actually on the Mediterranean as I originally thought, but instead shares its coast with the Adriatic Sea. We chose to travel and climb in the Istria Region, which is a triangle shaped peninsula in the NW corner of Croatia (the little squiggly at the end of a "u" if you will). For our swimming adventure, we went to the tippy tip of the "u squiggly" to the Premantura Penninsula, where we found amazing beach bars, crashing waves, and fantastic cliff jumping.

To stave getting lost, we took a photo of the map in a window. We still got lost.

After reading about the Safari Bar in our guidebook, we knew we HAD to go to there. Alas, like EVERYTHING ELSE in Croatia, the Safari Bar was an elusive wench. We drove to the end of the peninsula only to find NOTHING, and had all but given up when we saw a TEENY TINY sign sort of pointing in a direction.

We drove in that direction and found nothing, until Sarah (or someone) spotted a group of cars. And SUCCESS! We had found it!

Harder to find than you would think

Thankfully, also like everything else in Croatia, the bar was well worth the journey and we were not disappointed. A playground for adults, the Safari Bar had rope swings, jungle gyms, a spinning wheel barrel, secret hideaways, oh, and of course a bar with yummy food. It did not have a bathroom...but, you know, you're at the beach.

Safari Bar Lookout

Tucked away tables

Balance beam and jungle gym! I made it all the way across the monkey bars thankyouverymuch!

Spinning wheelbarrel. I was the only one who could stand fully upright inside. No, no one is surprised.

More outdoor seating, this one with a view of the sea

No caption required

We must have wandered through the Safari Bar for a good 10 minutes before we found the actual "bar". But no worries, we got to swing and go down a special slide for grownups. It didn't pinch your hips like most kids slides, but it wasn't exactly glute friendly either. Here's Sarah showing you the works:

Excited for food!

With full bellies (I had a delicious gyro, thank you for asking) we made our way down to the water. The views were stellar - the beach went on for miles. We also discovered some people cliff jumping. For those of you who know me, you're aware I'm not a big fan of the whole jumping-into-water-thing (I generally avoid water altogether actually). Well,something was completely inspiring about this place, and guess what? I JUMPED!


Mohawk Hair!

More gorgeous views

Ed also jumped (first, I should mention) and I took a few awesome photos of him. The most spectacular, is below. I apparently have a knack for taking the MOST AWESOME JUMPING PHOTOS ever, as displayed in my shot of Brad in 2010 cliff jumping near Smith Rock, and Ed seemly walking on an invisible slack line.

Brad 2010. Ed 2013.

We lounged until it got cold, then went to explore Pula, which is the largest city on the Istria Peninsula. The architecture was interesting, the food was delicious, and there was a miniature size city for Grandpa Max to stomp around on like Godzilla. All in all, an excellent day =D

Downtown Pula

Gpa Max had to go...apparently

Tee hee hee... it takes so little to amuse me

Pula Coliseum

Goodnight Coliseum

And finally, in keeping with more tradition, I ate an emergency-siesta-inducing calzone bigger than my face. I am both proud and ashamed of the below photo montage.

2006 in Milan; 2009 in Prague; 2013 in Croatia. Apparently some things never change.

13 November 2013

Climbing in Pula, Croatia

When I got back from Croatia I had big dreams about writing a blog for each day I was in Croatia. And you know what? I wrote 4 posts, so...that's like a 4 out of 7.... a passing grade, especially if you're grading on a curve!

N-E-way.... I'm back. And it's time for more Croatia. Because....CROATIA!

On Thursday of our trip, our 4th day climbing, we decided to get in some beach time while also getting in a little climbing. According to our crappy guide book, Pula had the best climbing the closest to the beach, so we headed there. More on the beach later, but for now, here are photos from climbing in Pula. All you need to know is we climbed at an old quarry. It was an....experience.

Walking into the quarry. A dilapidated building on our right. Climbing straight ahead.

In case someone should need to administer first aid

Walking into the quarry. Notice all of the right angles.

Much like all of the other climbing in Croatia, we had the place completely to ourselves. Which was eerie for this particular place, as you could imagine many people used to work there harvesting the marble from the walls. We wandered around before getting to the climbing and discovered some pretty unbelievable places.

According to the book this is a 5.14. Do you see the route? Right up that crack under the roof, which we referred to as "the countertop"

First, was a peek at the natural rock before it was "quarried" (is that a word?). You got a sense for just how much rock was taken. The overhang on this stuff was incredibly. Definitely well outside of our climbing abilities! 

The "overhang" - left.

Looking up under the overhang. I can't imagine one move on this wall, let alone stringing them all together!

Next up on our tour was this amazing old machinists room, where the giant pulley system to raise the blocks of rock were housed. I love these photos of the girls walking in to see it. The pictures do NOT do it justice, but their expression really give you a sense of this magistracy of the place. Walking into this room was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience. 

Sarah's first view
Linnea taking it in

What you see when you walk in


Happy face

Oil stain

Getting artistic

More artistry

Once we were done being total gapers (and trust me, I was gaping for a solid 20 minutes), it was time to climb. Sarah had her eye on this super fun-looking climb where holds were screwed into the wall, just like at a climbing gym. We all assessed it as an easy warm up, maybe a 5.8. Sarah geared up and started leading, only to find that at least 1/3 of the holds had broken off (turns out they had been glued, not screwed as originally thought), turning an easy 5.8 warm up into a 5.hard-miserable-disaster-zone. She still led it like a champ until the holds just ran out on her. Turned into a pretty sweet photo op at least!

Standing under the climb
Gearing up at left. Gives you a sense of scale.
Climbing. With Linnea giving a really solid spot.

Working the way up.

You got this girl!

After bailing on the 5.hard due to hold issues, Sarah and Linnea joined Ed and I on another wall, only to discover that the rappel anchors had been cut. I wish this was our first experience with missing bolts, but unfortunately, it was not. Then, Ed put up a 6a+ along an arete. Super chossy at the bottom, the holds were actually all old drill holes from the quarry. Perfect for me with my little fingers, but hard for Ed. Not that I'm EVER planning on going back, but should circumstances find me here, I'm going to lead this climb!

Ed on the sharp end

Me on the soft end

Finger pocket. Move feet. Repeat. 

The arete was our last climb before calling it a day. We had high hopes, as we were adjacent to another AWESOME wall with super cute holds on it, just like a climbing gym. And guess what - the anchors were still in tact! Too bad some a-hole had cut all of the bolts on the way up. Climbing 100' with NO protection? Nothankyouplease.

Climbing gym route

At least Grandpa Max got to have some fun!

Seriously, doesn't this look SWEET?

And with that, we were on our way to THE MEDITERRANEAN! That's right, swimming in saltwater baby! Of course, we had to take a few silly pictures to see us on our way. Ready? JUMP!

On the count of....1....

You can't tell, but we're laughing because Ed nearly fell on his face climbing up this easy slab.