We arrived last Friday, and my partner’s youngest daughter was here already with her partner on vacation. She’s pregnant, and due in February, and we spent a couple of days just visiting and hiking. It was lovely to hang out with them. Then we got down to business.

My partner has a “test piece”: a climb he does every time he comes to Corsica “L’ombre et lumière”. It’s in the Tavignano valley, and a longish walk (1h50ish) from Corte. We did the climb last time we were here. This time, we arrived quite late in the morning to find…half of an Swiss Alpine Club outing (Basel group) in the route ahead of us. Six climbers in two groups. Other than being loud — “Im on belay” “Are you on belay?” “Yes, I’m on belay” “Can I climb now?” “Yes, you can climb now” “I’m climbing now” — every detail of their thoughts and difficulties shared by shouting back and forth — they were far enough ahead of us that that wasn’t a problem. The problem was the second to last rappel. I went down first, and noted that “Hmm, the rope could get stuck here.” I mentioned this, but was, officially “poo-pooed”. And then the rope got stuck. I would much rather have been wrong. It only meant that my partner had to haul himself up the overhang with an improvised jumar (go abdominal muscles!) and we had to walk back in the dark. I didn’t bring my head-lamp (I think I need to start doing that) but we had our phones. Or I had my phone lamp; my partner’s mysteriously shut off after a while.

The rappel that stuck. It was nicer to go down than it was to go back up again…

The next day, having gotten to bed pretty late, we only did some single pitch climbs. We also tried swimming in the river, but it’s been coolish lately here, and the river is frigid.

Beautiful to look at, cold to swim in! Or should I say “refreshing”?

The weather was nice enough to do a climb further up in the mountains so we planned this for the next day. This one was called “Symphonie d’automne” and is found at the Pointe des sept lacs. This is also a longish hike, around 1h45ish.

The lake near the climb

It’s necessary to do a Tirolean to get to the start of the climb. There was a nice German couple who arrived before us.

The Germans in the Tirolean.
The fourth pitch. No further comment (I don’t like slab climbing)

We did the climb, for once, without incident (ok, the rope fell in the water on the last belay, but no biggie). We also met a shepherd on the way up. He was aged, but two years younger than my partner. Age is funny when you hit 55-60ish. Some of that must be genetics, but some of it is lifestyle, how and where you work and live.

Today is a beautiful day, and for some reason, my partner agreed to let us just enjoy the day without climbing. We slept late, visited the river near the campground (maybe not so clean as further up the valley, so we hesitated to swim there). We both did some stretching (the climb yesterday had some back breaking belay stands). Then we went for lunch, errands and “computer time” (taking the photos off the camera, writing in the blog, and so forth).

The weather is great tomorrow, so we’ll climb, and then after that we have to see what is possible for a few days. A bit of rain, maybe, or maybe not.

I think I didn’t realize the first time I was here that Corsica is so poor. It looks “quaint”, but it’s hard to know how “quaint” it is for the people living here. There’s been no renovations so houses look like they’re hot in summer and cold in winter. Many roofs are in need of repair, shutters are falling off and there’s a whole lot of duct tape fixing everything from cars to electrical cables. The roads are merely patched as soon as you get off the main routes. I would like to read more about the politics of the situation here, but I don’t know where to start. Something to look into for later.

Foro has been our good luck watch cow. If I put him up under the window when we leave the car, we don’t get a parking ticket. How could anyone want to punish someone who has such a cute companion?

Foro on the ferry, with a storm behind us on Elba.

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