Friday, October 31, 2014

Lebanon: Week ONE.

After a few days or searching, and two tanks of gas, we finally found a perfect area to apply our project ideals. With a view of the Mediterranean sea.

The area is located down in the valley below the town of Jezzine, Lebanon. The setting is quit picturesque. Tall magical like trees hover of over small orchards of olives, lemons and grapes. Its quiet. Peaceful. Bolting here reminds me, suddenly, of what we are really doing. Opening a new door for the future generations of climbers who can tread on these walls safely and enjoy nature and the surrounding culture with aplomb.

Years ago, a La Sportiva add, featuring Kurt Smith, gave me a kick in the ass to do what I now do. It simply stated that he did not own a house, or a Porsche or any truly material goods, and that he would continue to climb and develop, even if he had to spend his last dollar on a bag of potatoes.

This is a fond memory for me. It creeps up in my consciousness sometimes, while driving mostly. I think of all the areas I have been too, everyone I have met, all the lives that have shaped mine, and all the people who have helped me become who I am. I have had some run in's for sure. Most of the time though, its a just in passing, and nothing negative really ever truly lasts... Its made to resolve into a learned moment and then fades back into its hidden cave to be swallowed.

Jezzine's new area we are bolting is just that for me today, it shows me the positive and the light, and blocks out all the black. Across the small slope in the valley, just a few 100 meters from this still unnamed crag ( Asterix & Obelix is the working title for now ), there are small isolated limestone monoliths. Imagine Easter Island or Stonehenge if you will, but set amongst a think pine forest. When  I strolled around I felt like a Druid or a wizard, harvesting herbs and spices for my potions. Some of the these little blocs can hold two to 5 routes, making them uber special for a days out with a close friend or lover, giving you privacy to climb amongst the trees all alone, together, to enjoy this magical area.

Before come to this area, which will mostly hold routes between 4a and 6b, there is a nice, hard wall, of about 40 meters, which resembles rifle or jail house. With a road going directly up the crag, where you can belay off the hood.

I cannot believe, yet again, that I am in this country. Everyone and everything about Lebanon makes me want to move here. I especially enjoy the driving. No rules applied.

Ok, Thats it for now. I am off to Jezzine, where the mayor has organized a hotel room for me during my stay, for as long as I keep bolting. Eva is joining me  not he 9th, and bring even more iron with her. In total, I think we will be able to put up about 50 new routes before we head to Spain. In total, I expect this whole area in Babu ( Jezzine ) can contain about 150+ routes. Half of which can be under 6a, which will make it a great starter area, and a great place for experienced climbers to bring newcomers or family.

In closing, I need to thank everyone who made this possible. Marc, Chole, Ellie and Lena @ LCA
, Chris, Karl, Patrick and the boys at Climbtech. Everet and Jim @ La Sportiva, Jano @ TNF, Kati and Rob @ Big Agnes, Evan @ Ibex Clothing, Dan @ So iLL, Rob and Randy@ Maxim Ropes, John Evans@ Petzl USA and especially Turkish Airlines who, at the last moment, picked up the tab on 220 kilos of gear I was travelling with. I could not do it without you guys, thank you. I am sure I am missing people, but you know who you are, and I say thank you. :)


  1. Lache pas mec. J'ai hate d'aller tester tes voies!

  2. C'est malade ce que vous faites là-bas. Je viens de tomber sur un vidéo de Brittany Friffith ( qui semble avoir les mêmes aspirations que votre gang. Peut-être êtes-vous du même groupe dans le fond...? Y-a-t'il un endroit où on peut lire et en apprendre un peu plus sur votre projet?