Europe Rock Trip is a unique rock climbing course/trip concept we have set up as our first product and have been polishing for many years. It hits Europes best sport climbing crags and gives climbers the opportunity to maximize their climbing time without any hustle “pack your climbing shoes and CLIMB”. And of course, as always, our aim is to make you climb BETTER, HARDER & MORE!
Here is an unedited interview with Alex Vesco, one of our clients who joined this trip twice with his wife Sylvia. Enjoy reading!
The Europe Rock Trip covers a number of sites. Where have you been with your partner and where have you been?
I have been on this amazing climbing trip twice: The first time was almost the full trip which started in Czech then onto Germany; Austria; France and Spain and the second time were Czech; Germany and Austria. My partner (my amazing wife Sylvia) did the whole trip which included all of the above and Italy
What does a regular day look like on this trip?
Up early and breakfast al fresco at the campsite. Then some of us do warm-ups and physio then mid-morning we drive/walkout to either one or two climbing areas. We generally split up into climbing partners and warm-up on some straightforward routes before being challenged to push our grades. On my first trip, I eventually managed to do a 7a+ outside which for me is totally up there… way beyond my expectations, and thanks only to the confidence my coaches gave me (and the patience of my belayer). I would say that Rockbusters alone gave me the inspiration and encouragement to transition to above 6 French grade climbing… the exposure and experience were game-changing.
How are the routes selection and the interaction with the guides?
The routes are carefully thought out. No one really felt out of their depth totally… like a 6 grade on an 8 for instance but there was a subtle push to gain confidence and up the grades. There was something for everyone… some like short bouldery powerful routes and there were those and others like vertical crimpy thin ascents and there were plenty of those… Generally a good mix of pockets (Frankenjura/Margalef) and Crimps / Cruxy / Bouldery style (Ceūse and Gorge du Tarn) and full-on overhang in Rodellar…. All the guides were positive and encouraging in their own idiosyncratic ways… personalities are everything.
What about coaching? Tell us, how does it work and function.
Well, as above..each has their own personality. I responded well to being slightly bullied in a friendly way but gentle encouragement also works for some and the coaches are good at sussing what works best…the gestalt is bigger than the sum of its parts… the coaching was all there… safety; technique; managing fear and energy; and teamwork before and at the end with equipment and looking out for each other.
What is happening when you don't or can't climb? Is it time for some relaxation, beer, …?
Definitely… we are encouraged to have a rest day to optimize climbing performance. It’s optional though. Those rest days are generally spent… well…. resting. Walking, chatting about climbing, or venturing into the local town for a beer. A good opportunity to reflect on climbing and to visualize your projects.
How does this work on the organizational side? Accommodation, transport, …?
Great! Always met at the airport or we chip in and hire a car and help out. It’s a team feeling. It’s all there. Accommodation is either camping at comfortable campsites… toilets and showers and bar and cafe… or in a hostel. Occasionally we have rented a big house for a week which is fun.
What was the atmosphere like and how did you saddle with other people?
Mostly it’s all convivial… some people gel better than others but generally, climbers are a great company and the banter just galvanizes performance and ambition. There have been very very very few exceptions. In fact, I can’t really think of anything serious. All good. Obviously, there is a mix of skills in belayers but generally, the coaches will focus on the inexperienced ones to make sure that everything is safe.
If you have the experience, what is the difference comparing to other companies/guides?
The personal touch. I would now regard almost everyone I have met on the trips I went on as friends. We continue to communicate even three years after. The coaches I would consider good friends. I have been on other courses where, yes, it’s friendly enough but it’s more business than friendship. You were on a program. I felt with this experience that it was more like a big family but the end product (being a better climber and crossing those thresholds) is there.
What would you take with you and what would you leave at home?
I took a sleeping mat and bag; toiletries and clothes and my climbing gear. Left my rope. Left my worries. I took my phone / iPad for some communication or films in the evening. That’s it.
For whom is this trip suitable and, conversely, who would not like it?
If you love climbing and getting a bit dirty and challenging yourself then this is your trip. You won’t regret it at all. If you have airs and graces then you’ll still love it but might have your eyes opened a bit more than you expected.
What benefits did the trip give you personally?
This first trip especially was one of the pinnacles of my entire life. It was the best time I can ever remember having. It had definite highs and lows but the afterglow is still burning. Its coaching and experience still continue to give me the confidence to push my grades… When I’m climbing now I can still hear my coach’s voice in my head pushing me on… come on come on fight… fight…. And I’m doing quite well these days.
If I doubt, why should I go?
Because you will make new friends; you will have the time of your life and you will emerge as a better climber. Period!
For individual weeks follow these links: