Pecorino, Cannonau & Calcare Part 2

Rock Climbing in Sardinia, Baby-Friendly

Families can’t really go wrong when choosing Sardinia as a destination for a vacation. There is plenty to for everyone to do, from fabulous beaches to quaint villages, sail cruises to inland hikes, plenty of cultural interests and all sorts of activities for visitors looking for an agri-tourism experience, trad climbing, deep water soloing and long multi-pitches. On our hand, we kept our exploration of Cala Gonone pretty simple. Our stay was filled with our daily share of sports climbing, hanging on the beach, eating gelato …and changing diapers.

We had done our homeworks and had researched some climbing spots ahead of time online. The website www.climb-europe.com was, as usual, a great place to start gathering some info when planning a climbing trip in Europe! On day one, we also invested in Pietra di Luna, 5th edition 2011, by Maurizio Oviglia, a very good guidebooks covering over 1,400 routes everywhere on the Island. Bear in mind that this newer edition doesn’t include as many multi-pitch routes as the older versions. We purchased the book at the small climbing store in Dorgali, along with a pair of new rock shoes, which proved to be way to painful to wear and ended up being replaced by a second pair purchased the following day. Yes, we were in Italy and I was decided to take advantage of the traditional Italian excellence in shoemaking.

Families also can’t really go wrong when choosing a crag to spend the day. Around Cala Gonone, all of the crags we visited are fairly easily accessed and offer flat shaded spots to set up a blanket or even a tent for the kids to safely play and nap. Since we were there in May, the weather was also most favorable to spent the days outside with little ones; plenty of sun but moderate temperatures and the usual breeze cooling the air just enough.

Some of the crags we visited are:

  • Budinetto: located 5 minutes drive from town and 15-minute approach, this site offers moderate slab routes from 3c to 6c. It is mostly south facing and offers a spectacular view on Cala Gonone and the sea. We picked this location for our first half day on the rock. Probably the least baby friendly of all because it’s fairly bushy and doesn’t offer that much flat areas at the bottom; it is less than ideal for a clumsy toddler.

 

budinetto
Slaby limestone that has lots of grip in Budinetto. Great way to start clipping bolts again.
  • Cala Fuili: This site is also located just outside of town and requires a 10-30 minute hike, depending on the area. Some easy climbs are just off the beach and therefore very busy and quite polished. As you walk deeper in the canyon, you find more interesting routes, graded from 5a to 8b+. It is the largest sports climbing site in the area with over 110 routes, mostly single pitch with some multi. The beach is ideal to hang out with kids, however, since climbers will have to wander out of reach to find interesting routes it’s best to split the group…
calafulli
Cala Fuili is an easy-accessed, popular beach just outside of town
  • Biddiriscotai: A very cool cave accessed by a scenic 20-minute walk right from town. Nudists love to soak the sun on the rocks near the cave, which can be a little surprising as you come around the corner…It boasts about 50 routes from 5b to 8a+. The sea mist definitely makes the holds a bit greasy but the location is well worth the trip. It was a great location for small children who are not too mobile but could be a challenge for busy 2-3 year olds. The cave itself is like a giant sandbox and offers plenty of shade. The routes feature neat tuffa and stalactites.
approachsea
The coolest approach ever…minus the naked Sards (not shown on the pic)

grotte

nap2
Baby catching up on zzz’s while papa and his buddy tackle a greasy 6c
lilclimber
Look who’s climbing steep stuff in her socks!
  • Buchi Arta: Our Cala Gonone favorite. After a slightly longer drive up and down a narrow mountain road, you have arrived! This site offers 35 routes from 5c to 7a, vertical and crimpy and lots of flat spots nicely shaded by the ancient pine trees. While you won’t get a seaview, it’s ideal for a group with lots of space for the kiddos to roam. We spent two full days there and I think what makes me emotional about this spot is that it’s where I led my first 6b!

buchiflat

nap
A napper’s guide to Sardinia
6b
Giving this first 6b all my attention
picnic
I could write a post only about bread, cheese and wine in Sardinia…so could my baby
  • Cala Luna: I personnaly did more beaching than climbing at this particular site, but I can say that the approach is definitely the coolest of all. While you can access it by hiking severals hours, you can also rent a power boat at the port for the day for about 80 euros plus gas. We were fortunate enough to be a group of 10 (8 adults) and were met by friends of friends so it was all well worth it and quite affordable. The boat ride was exceptional on a sea so blue and so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. Along the shore are many caves to explore, which get very busy with larger tour ships later in the day. You can also take a taxi boat to Cala Luna. The climbing there was good, with routes from 5c to 8b+ including some multi-pitch. Hubby and I were able to leave baby girl to our friends and do the classic very photogenic 2-pitch route. The beach was beautiful although it was much harder to find shade so bring your own tent or shelter or umbrella. Be aware of wild pigs who love to steal your food.
Calaluna
A classic 2-pitch route is right on the prominent pillar

boat1

All Aboard!

basecamp
Setting up base camp at Cala Luna

The boys in our crew were also able to squeeze in some quality multi-pitch routes, in Margheddie and Supramonte (in-land). Our thought was that the climbing was overall excellent, on solid limestone, well bolted and the grading relatively on par with other major european climbing destinations. We were happy to go early season and found the locals very hospitable and nice and the prices quite a bit lower than during the peak summer season. Many locals speak French or a bit of English and we found communicating was never an issue. I am sure Sardinia has a lot more to offer than what we just experienced but, so goes life when you want to balance a family vacation with a baby and destination climbing…can’t do it all! That being said, I wouldn’t mind going back to Sardinia has it has printed on our minds very sweet memories.

napmamanbb
Some more napping, just for the beauty of it
Advertisements

5 Reasons Why You Should Go On A Climbing Trip With A Baby

Friends and family who are not climbers have often asked us: “When you take your baby climbing, do you strap her onto your back and climb?” Hell, NO!

Rock climbers are, by definition, in the eyes of non climbers insane irresponsible beings who risk their life every minute. I get it. The concept can seem a little vague for someone who has never tried climbing before. Now, don’t only take my words for it, do you research. Sports climbing, when done properly is very safe. When planned responsibly, and of course when you have a third or more responsible grown-ups on hand, it can also be a great activity to take a baby along. I never used to be much into sports climbing before kid and now I am learning to love it more and more, especially when sports climbing is one of the main components of a family trip. Here are 5 reasons why it’s so awesome:

1- It’s all about your family

With a newborn, life gets a little bit crazy. To me, the domestic life has appeared at first to be like a prison. At home, the first two months of my daughters life, I would easily get overwhelmed by all there was to do and get distracted from what really matters: bonding with my baby and as a brand new little family. In an 8-foot truck camper in the middle of the Sierra Nevada, the home-related chores are pretty much reduced to none. Once you’ve figured where you’re going to sleep and what you’re going to eat, your time is all for your family and this is pretty fantastic. Sipping your cup of coffee in the desert morning sun with a sleeping baby nearby pretty much makes you forget about the the pile of dirty laundry, the mail to pick-up, etc.

At home at the Buttermilk boulders near Bishop,CA

2- It’s a great way to recconect with your postpartum body

Physicians recommend to wait at least 6-week after birth to gently start exercising again, and this should be done after medical consultation to ensure the recovery is underway. I personally followed this guideline and maybe waited even more. I also consulted my family doctor before starting climbing again to ensure I didn’t have diatasis recti. After doing weeks of soft physical rehab exercises and lots of walking to regain strength and endurance, I finally felt ready to climb again. I was by no mean a strong sports climber before pregnancy so I really had no pressure when I picked it up again and was therefore able to enjoy a very gradual, easy reconnection with the rock…and with my core muscles and my upper body. The pace that my baby’s routine would impose on us suited me just fine; a little walking, a little breastfeeding, a little climbing, eating some snacks, walking the baby some more so she could sleep,hanging out in the sun, climbing a little more and the day had gone by!

finding a nice shaded spot for baby’s nap near Bishop, CA

3- It’s a great way to reconnect with your partner

No, your romantic life doesn’t end the day you pop that baby out, although it sometimes feels like a remote memory, especially when that little being is sucking up all your attention and your energy. On our family climbing trips,we’ve always been fortunate enough to also have wonderful friends joining us, which has first allowed us to take turns climbing, belaying and taking care of the baby. But what makes our friends even more wonderful is that, wether or not they have kids, they’ve offered to also take care of our daughter for shorts periods of time. This is allowed Hubby and I to take a few moments to ourselves… to soak in some hot springs, to tackle a route together just like in the old days, or even to catch up on sleep or get organized with groceries…yes, you’ve heard me; with a couple-of-months old, even grocery shopping IS a romantic activity.


4- It opens your climbing perspectives

As mentioned earlier, before being a mom I didn’t care all that much for sports climbing, and to me, bouldering was not even something I was considering as climbing! My husband and I would spend any opportunity we had to go alpine climbing or climb multi-pitch routes. The odd bit of sports climbing I would was early season to get into alpine climbing shape. Well, because we don’t simply strap our baby onto our back and climb (for goodness sake! Seriously!) being new parents who didn’t want to give up on our passion, we had to adapt, and it proved wonderful. The beauty of sports climbing is its relatively simple logistic and the fact that the time commitment can be much shorter ( yes, we’ve had a few around the clock epics in the alpine before). You usually sports climb in fair weather, and in very pleasant environments. It also didn’t take long before we started realizing how much bouldering is adapted to climbing with a baby. Especially when you don’t have friends on hand to take turns belaying. I must even confess that since I have become a mom, I even picked up indoor climbing and I love it. It has become my weekly “me time” I get to spend with other mom friends. Although alpine climbing is still very dear to my heart, I love how easy crag, Boulder and indoor climbing is to juggle with a young family.


5- You create long-lasting family memories

I strongly believe people who say that there’s no point traveling with infants because they will never remember a thing or even says that traveling is detrimental for children are so wrong. Traveling, exploring new places, being exposed to new smells, new sights, new flavours ( even through breastmilk) will for sure imprints on babies soul and will contribute to who their are as humans. Openness is something intrinsic to children. Fear of differences is a learnt state. Tolerance, kindness, curiosity, adaptability are values that can be passed on right from birth. If a baby won’t have memories of a journey she was on when she was 2-months old, she will certainly have acquire sensations from it and will relate to your own memory of it as a parent, through stories and photos. To us, the very first trip we did as a family is closely linked to the wonderful memory of our daughter’s early age. Something that’s truly amazes me about young kids is that, when their basics needs are met and they feel safe and surrounded by the most important aspect of their little world; the presence of loving care-givers, they are really at home anywhere in the world.

And, finally, to anyone who asked me “why do you do this?”, my answer has always been “why not?!”

5reasonspin