Climbing Section:
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"A climber's day always starts at the crux: getting out of bed."
On this page:

A sample image from my wallpapers


You only want to see my best climbing pictures ? I have grouped the best horizontal ones for use as a background for your cluttered, overworked desktop. Along with some Antarctic pictures, they are on several special pages for free. The picture on the right is selected at random out of those. They are available in 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768 and also in 5400x3500 and even a lot more !

Before you look any further, you have to read the disclaimer. You know the boring thing that says that climbing is dangerous and just reading this website will get you both maimed and killed before lawyers rip apart what's left and such...

Start from the beginning then choose a route from the list, pick up some gear, a camera and follow us for a vertical trip to the farthest reaches...

Trip reports


My first view of Denali (aka Mt McKinley)

I spent 8 months in Alaska, working at the Geophysical Institute of Fairbanks and doing some hiking, biking and climbing. Summer '95. Among the climbs I've done there: a solo ascent of Denali in 9 days, Mt Hunter and some first ascents on Mt Prindle.


Alpaga near Cotopaxi

Ecuador is a nice country, not only llamas and volcanoes. July '94. 6 summits including a new route on the south face of Mt Chimborazo and Mt Cotopaxi.

New Zealand

Maori statue from Christchurch

Numerous ascents in foul weather in autumn '94, 2000 and 2005 including Mt Cook and Mt Tasman via several different routes, a 54 hour epic on the north ridge of Mt Sefton, Elie de Baumont, Hoerchester Dome, Malte Brun, Mt Aspiring, the walk through the Copland Pass, some northern volcanoes and always plenty of wildlife such as birds, whales and diving with blue sharks.


Ice overhang, Loch Vale, Rocky Mountain National Park

We moved to Fort Collins in November 2000 and started climbing everything around the nearby Rocky Mountains...

Go read the stories and see the other pictures about various cultural rants and rock climbing, Mountain climbing, the ascent of the Casual Route of the Diamond, the Scenic Cruise in the Black Canyon of Gunnison, some Backcountry skiing, Ice climbing and a hike down Grand Canyon.

Red Rocks, Nevada

Jenny on one of the upper pitches of Epinephrine, Red Rocks

What can one do in Las Vegas ? Climb at Red Rocks of course. We went back more than once on this amazing sandstone and bagged plenty of Classics: Crimson Chrysalis, the Prince of Darkness, Epinephrine, Ginger Crack, Eagle Dance, Levitation 29, Solar Slab, Inti Watana, Resolution Arête, Unimpeachable Groping, Power Failure, Rock Warrior and more.


South face of Devil's Tower

A couple trips to Wyoming in 2001~2002 on 3 separate pages: getting sandbagged on Vedauwoo's offwidths, some rodeo pictures, a quick tourist trip to Yellowstone, the Wind River Range, Devil's Tower and its amazing cracks, the full Exum ridge up the Grand Teton and the needles and Mt Rushmore in nearby South Dakota.

Road Trip

Jenny sleeping

A 4 months road trip ended our stay in Colorado in 2003 and caused the addition and update of many pages:

The Alps

The Peuterey pass

Numerous winter climbs: waterfalls, ice gullies and mixed routes. I'm not going to waste my time putting pictures of things seen hundreds of times. If you want some, just open any climbing magazine... Well, I only put here my best climb, the central pillar of Freney, probably the hardest way to climb one's first Mt Blanc ! But another way is simply to ski it...

In 2004 we moved to Briançon in the heart of the Alps, near the Ecrins National Park where excellent rock climbing, ice climbing, backcountry, skiing as well as mountain biking abounds. And climbing the Meije.

2007, moving yet again to Grenoble, the big city of the Alps. Plenty of interesting mountain ranges within spitting distance: Chartreuse and its green liquor, Maurienne and its ski, Belledonne, Diois, Devoluy, Grandes Rousses, Taillefer, Vanoise, Beaufortain, La Bérarde, Champsaur, Ubaye... And don't forget the Jacuzzi!

2012, moved yet again, but this time a short distance, up to the Vercors, its WWII fighters, the classic cliff of Presles, the birthplace of climbing at Mt Aiguille, great panorama, ski, an excellent 2012 ice climbing season and daily mountain bike descents.


Wild piglets in Corsica

Besides the Alps, there are plenty of other climbing spots in France, such as the Ardeche, Corsica or even Bretagne.

South of there is plenty of climbing in Provence, particular the cliff of Ceuse, the odd crack climbing of Annot or the seaside cliffs of the Calanques.

Southern Europe

Mouth of a shark or Greek cave?

When it gets too cold to climb in France, it may be a good idea to head farther south to Riglos or other spots in Spain or Kalymnos, Greece.

The Dolomites

Via Cassin, Cima Piccolissima

Jenny had wanted to get me to climb in the Dolomites for quite a while, but we managed to find the time only last summer. Great climbs on Civetta and the 3 towers of Lavaredo, but it rained every single day ! August '99.

Nepal and Tibet

The kitchen of a buddhist monastery On our way to Cho-Oyu we took our time to visit Nepal and Tibet. Here are a few ordinary tourist pictures of temples and such.

Towering at 8201m, Cho-Oyu is one of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks in the world. Not the highest, not the hardest, but quite hard enough for a first experience of high altitude mountaineering without sherpa or oxygen. September 2000.

Climbing Humor
"I don't have any friends, and my nuts are too small."    — Anonymous climber on a bad day.

You might be a mountain climber if:

Dictionaries A great deal of sweat went into the elaboration of these climbing dictionaries. Sweat mostly from being up a cliff belaying and hearing 'Mola !' or 'Vola !' or something like that, and not being quite sure about my foreign partner's life expectancy at that point. So I've talked with some of my partners on their hospital beds to come up with a French / English / Italian climbing dictionary. About 300 terms for rock as well as mountain climbing and skiing are translated all 3 ways.

The highest, hardest and last iceberg Grosnitho and I managed climb.

Well, I didn't do much climbing there, except for a couple of icebergs (positively the worst ice in the known universe), some crevasses (a little unstable, he Grosnitho ?) and some bouldering on penguin shit with plastic boots. But the center is dead flat, hopeless for climbing, although when I flew over the Transantarctic Range, I saw some mighty mountains and big walls awaiting their first climbers.

Anyway, don't miss my iceberg climbing pictures.


Serac on the normal route of Toclaraju (6035m)

I spent 7 weeks in Cordillera Blanca in summer '96, around Huaraz and climbed (or tried) 9 summits including the first solo ascent of the north face of Huascaran nord, in a day, the solo ascent of the south face of Huascaran sud, the 2nd ascent of a Slovenian route on the north face of Ranrapalca...


Weird Tasmanian Tawney Frogmouth bird

40 days climbing in scorching heat in Australia in early 2006: Blue Mountains, Arapiles, Mt Buffalo, Grampians, Point Perpendicular...

On the other hand, no climbing story for Tasmania, but some hiking on the Overland track and the southwest rain forest, an ascent of Federation Peak, biking on Brusny island and some pictures of cool animals (kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, fairy penguins or this Tawney Frogmouth on the right). Dec '92, Feb '94 & March '98.


The long step to get onto the highest tower (summit) of the Mace

Several interesting areas in Arizona: The Mace in Sedona (Dec '01, just 45 years after the first ascent), Granite Mountain, Mt Lemon and the beautiful winter destination of Cochise Stronghold.

Moab, Utah

Castleton tower, the most classical desert tower

Besides Colorado, we are also exploring nearby areas, like Moab in Utah. A place of sandstone towers in the middle of the desert, super cracks, soft sandy rock, John Wayne hotels and so much more... May 2001.

Go read the stories and pictures about the Six-Shooters, Indian Creek, Castleton, Arches NP, Ancient Art as well as climbing Jah Man and Moses Tower, more desert towers, the unmistakable Zion and hiking through the Anasazie ruins of Grand Gulch.


Where's the route?

Part of our 2003 road trip where we saw 3 areas: the very nice City of Rocks, the smooth SuperSlab and the quality long routes of Elephant Perch in the Sawtooth mountains.

California & Yosemite

Squirrel eating Power Bar on the top of Half Dome

There is more to California than just Yosemite, but it took me 8 years to notice:

  • 1st Yosemite trip ('95): the Nose of El Capitan (1100m, 5.8 A2) in a very long day, the DNB of Middle Cathedral (600m, 5.10 A0), the Snake Dike (5.7) of Half-Dome free solo and more
  • 2nd Yosemite trip (2003): the Salathé Wall of El Capitan (1000m, 5.10 A2) in 3 days, the offwidth packed Steck-Salathé, the long regular route on the NW face of Half Dome, plenty (Frenzy, Stoner's Highway, E-buttress) on Middle Cathedral and more.
  • A side trip to Tuolumne for the classic on Fairview Dome, the harder Lucky Streak on that same dome and an easier approach to Crest Jewel on North Dome.
  • And also Joshua Tree, Tahquiz, Suicide, Lake Tahoe, Lover's Leap, Sugarloaf, the magical Needles...
Sarek, Sweden

Stormy night: the wind trying to blow our tent away !

Teaching Jenny to ski in the Sarek National Park, in northern Sweden. Nice place but bad weather. April '99.


North face of Corno Piccolo in winter

Numerous ascents on long rock climbs and winter climbs in the Gran Sasso chain: some first descents on monoski and lots of mountaineering ski in the Apennines, first solo ascent of Meridionalizziamoci (250m TD+ VI+), solo trilogy of the 3 longest routes of Apennines, several first ascents on the Pollino in the deep south of Italy, farther north the Val d'Orco is one of the too rare crack climbing areas in Europe.

Read my paper about Gran Sasso in Français and English or read three climbing horror stories (also in Français)... More recent pics of Gran Sasso.

Farther south some climbing in Sicily and a hike on Mt Etna, some mountain biking and climbing in Sardinia. Also some climbing on the almost italian island of Malta.

Farther north there's ice in Aosta, roc in Arco and Val di Mello...


Lemur in front of the Tsaranoro.

7th and last continent I reach: Africa. A month climbing in Madagascar on the scenic Nosy Hara islands and the Tsaranoro big wall under the stare of Lemurs, chameleons and other (bitting) critters.


Starting a 200m traverse above the cold sea.

After passing too briefly through Slovenia, we spend 2 weeks visiting Croatia and climbing long routes in Paklenica canyon and sport routes above the sea on Hvar island. A couple years later we went back to Newcanoe and spear fish between the islands.

Still in the mediterranean, we spent some time climbing on the tiny historic island of Malta.

Middle east

Donkey at Taghia.

Getting ever closer to Africa, we start with the middle east and a trad climbing trip to the sandstone domes of Wadi Rum and its crazy bedouin hikes.

Then 6 months later I finally set foot on the continent itself, climbing in the high Atlas at Taghia, Morocco.

Redpoint climbing, by Bruce, Mountoons

Climbing biography

Year 2000 was very busy:
First coming back from my fourth Antarctic mission in February; then more than a month of vacation in New Zealand with Jenny; then a bit of work; then getting married on May 20th; then honeymoon in the Alps followed by the total destruction of our car and all our climbing gear, photo equipment, wedding gifts... Then a bit of work mixed up with a lot of time with lawyers and insurances; then off to Nepal, Tibet and the summit of Cho-Oyu in August 2000 and then a bit of work (again !). And then we moved to Colorado after I found a job in Fort Collins !

So after all this we are taking it easy in Colorado. No big expensive expedition for 2001 and 2002, but lots of lazy week-ends climbing in the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado but also Utah and Wyoming, Nevada and Arizona.

Our 2003 climbing road trip around the western US is over and in 2004 we moved to Briançon in the heart of the Ecrins National Park in the Alps; but while Jenny stayed there for a while, I headed off to Antarctica again until 2006 where we had another serious road trip in New-Zealand and Australia. Say, after 370 days of work without a single rest day, I'm entitled to a bit of vacation, no ? The main problem was that Jenny now climbed a good 3 grades harder than me, but that didn't last. And now we are back home in Briançon.

2007 brought a new change of scenery yet again: from atmosphere science and Antarctic trips to nuclear physics and outer space cosmology for work, and from Briançon to Grenoble for home.

Hommage Denis Desroussaux et Fabrice Bernex se sont tués en montagne Vendredi 7 Août 1998. Voici les allocutions lues par leurs amis et par Frank lors de la cérémonie d'adieu.