As the smallest of the Black Diamond crash pad range, the Impact is designed to be a compact alternative to the bigger Drop Zone and Mondo. But can the Impact hold its own when it comes to the rigours of the outdoors? Read on for my impressions.
Having just recently moved to Switzerland I’ve been looking to explore what the country has to offer from a bouldering perspective. One of the challenges here is the lack of official bouldering guides (many of which are out of print). With many small sectors, dispersed widely across the country and with three official languages it can be a challenge to find information on the web as well. Enter bimano, an app developed in Switzerland that tries to capture the country’s bouldering heritage in one easy to use format. All this right on your phone and in your pocket!
A climbing partner of mine made a trip to Albarracin in October 2007 and was all praise for this fairly new bouldering area. His description was of a magical forest with huge, red boulders with giant roofs, which offered hundreds of problems and yet still had near endless potential. So instead of visiting one of the usual bouldering haunts this Spring, I decided to give this area a try. So is this Spain’s version of Fontainebleau?
France – For its sheer beauty alone, the Tarn is worthy of a climbing visit. The canyon is covered with lush vegetation and is a sight to behold during spring and autumn, when nature paints the forest in a mix of bright colours, reflected in the swirling currents of the river which cuts its way through the winding valley. I’ve been to the Tarn on three occasions and each time I have noticed an increasing amount of climbers. With over 500 sport routes on top quality limestone, the gorge is fast becoming one of France’s premier climbing locations.
Spain – Rodellar is probably one of the most impressive climbing sites that I’ve been to in Europe. With over 300 sport routes featuring a variety of breathtaking limestone walls, the canyon is a unique peaceful get-a-way nestled in the Sierra de Guarra, far from the bustle of everyday Spanish life. The climbing here is long and powerful combing a mixture of overhanging crags and deep caves. While at first glimpse daunting, you’ll find yourself in climbing heaven when you experience the quality of the lines that have been put up.
Spain – Siurana has been much talked about in the climbing news lately, due to the activity seen on La Rambla Extension (9a+) by such climbers as perennial strong man Chris Sharma and Czech Wunderkind Adam Ondra. But even for those mortals among us, Siurana offers a perfect destination for a climbing vacation. With over 600 sport routes, there is plenty to do and much to see. And when you experience the breathtaking Siurana sunset after a hard days climbing, you may just find yourself extending your holiday for a couple more weeks.
Germany – Just a few kilometres per car north of the city Münster lies the beautiful Teutoburger Wald forest. It stretches over many miles of terrain, from Lower Sachsony to North-Rhine-Westphalia state, and is home to plenty of outdoor sports such as hiking and mountain biking. It also attracts many tourists and weekend walkers who take advantage of the limitless amounts of trails that the forest has to offer. As luck would have it, the forest is also home to a number of great climbing routes and some fantastic boulder problems.
France – Over the past couple of years Annot has been earning the reputation as the next big bouldering destination after Fontainebleau in France, if not one of the top locations in continental Europe. With its numerous sandstone problems, moderate climate, and easy access it’s easy to see why the area is getting so much attention. Whether you’re looking for a place to see if your winter training paid off, or just passing by on the way to another climbing destination, this burgeoning area definitely delivers the goods.