It has been quite a while since my last post on this blog, and the main reason for this is that the time I used to spend on the laptop typing up blog posts has been taken over by writing for work…yes, the honeymoon travel period has come to an end, and I’ve had to pick up the pen for payment rather than pleasure once again!
Have you ever heard of Tirolean climbing grades? Neither had I until very recently, when my brother told me a story about him and his climbing partner struggling on routes that were supposed to be far, far below their abilities. Having spent around three weeks climbing in various parts of Tirol, I can now testify that this is indeed a thing.
There’s nothing like a different type of rock to make you feel like a bit of a novice again. Austria has been a country of many firsts for me, and one of these was my first experience of climbing on granite. And it well and truly kicked my ass!
With a sickening noise, the tyres skidded on the loose pebbles, as the van swerved violently this way and that on the steep incline. One, two, there revs of the engine and we had to admit defeat, retreating back to the relative safety of the road below. Deep breath, let the tyres cool for a second and try again.
We were less than ten minutes drive from our destination, but separated from it by a steep track of loose gravel, which swallowed up our heavy vehicle in a cloud of dust as we tried to propel our way up, holding the wheels in a tight grip they couldn’t escape. But there was no way back at this point, either. Reversing back down the zig-zag we had just driven up was out of the question.
Our first climbing day in Croatia was atrocious. I had heard the grades may be a little harder than in Greece, but neither me, nor Clay were expecting to get completely shut down by a 6a.
It has been a full two months since Clay and I officially moved into a campervan and it has been a steep learning curve. In all the excitement of travel – discovering new places, enjoying the weather and time with friends, planning where to go next – and in all the stress of actually making it to our first destination in the first place, I haven’t really addressed this huge change in my life, but it has made me appreciate some things I have taken for granted all my life.