Travels with Johnny
Well, John and I just finished with our climbing tour of Italy.
We spent the first two days in Arco getting "warmed up"...literally because it was really hot. The limestone climbing was quite nice, but nothing like Thailand. When our forearms couldn't handle it any more, we drove to the Dolomites and did some proper climbing. We did the South face of the first Sella tower (about 5 pitches, grade IV) and the north face of the second Sella tower (about 12 pitches, grade V) in a day. Good stuff. On top of the last route, if rained, then turned to hail. Downclimbing 4th class limestone chimneys covered in water, ice, and loose gravel got my fun meter up!
The next day we did the south ridge of the first Viajelet tower (4 pitches, grade IV). The approach was about 2000' elevation gain, so we didn't do much else.
The bummer about the Dolomites was that none of the Refugios were open -- too early in the season -- meaning that we couldn't gain elevation and stay up. We had to spend our evenings in fancy hotels. (After the first night of John's snoring, we got separate rooms.)
The day after that we went to the Cinque Torre group and did one pitch of grade VI+ in the snow. With frozen fingers and a generous dumping of snow in the Dolomites, we retreated back to Arco for a few days of pulling down limestone. On our last day, we did 11 pitches of french 6a or better (that's about 5.10a). That evening, John was so fried that he could hardly lift food into his mouth. We spent our last evening eating ice cream and watching the sun bake the cliffs towering above the small village of Nago outside of Arco.
Right now I'm relaxing in Venice getting ready for another week of presentations in Milan, Rome, and Copenhagan.