Switzerland—Gallerie
Posted by sibylle in Switzerland (Sunday October 7, 2007 at 6:56 pm)

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Approach to the Gallerie

This definitely beat the approach to the Brüggler! We’d hop out of the car, go under the tunnel and climb the stairs so that we were on top of the road. Despite the proximity of traffic, the thick concrete kept the noise from penetrating and climbing above roaring cars remained surprisingly serene. Plus, it was nice and level so we could easily lie down and sunbathe on the rare days when we had some sun (this is in July!)

Some enterprising locals had carried up a nice wooden bench with backrests and armrests, so we could belay sitting in style if we wanted to climb the routes near the bench. Unfortunately, most of the climbs in good sitting range were somewhat above even Tristan’s abilities, never mind mine!

After climbing, we’d head to the nearby village of Näfels to watch the Tour de France at the Sportzentrum. The Sportzentrum was like a very fancy gym plus gourmet restaurant; clearly the most modern building in town and somewhat the social center. We got to watch the Tour in the restaurant on their huge TV because it played at a time that was past lunch and too early for dinner. So as long as I bought Tristan lots of Karamelköpfli (a fancy crème brulee or flan-like dessert) or his other favorite Swiss desserts (which include Pfaffenhütchen, a triangular pastry filled with nuts; Vögelnestli, and Gipfeli, a filled croissant) they were happy to allow us to sit and watch the Tour.

Switzerland - Gallerie
Posted by sibylle in Switzerland (Wednesday October 3, 2007 at 2:52 pm)

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Tristan leading at the Gallerie

We camped near the Brüggler in a small meadow by a Swiss alpine hut named “Matt”, at 1,235 meters, with a spring, toilets, and tables for eating and cooking both inside and outside. However, since our first night we’d listened to loud thunder crashing around us, and been almost blinded by lightning flashing much too close for comfort, we opted to sport climb instead of hiking up toward the Brüggler and starting up a long climb.

The Gallerie was one of those typical small European cliffs that all the locals climb at but no one comes from very far. They all wondered why we would bother to climb here when we were so far away. Well, for one thing, we didn’t want to go up on a bigger climb at higher altitude in what seemed pretty threatening weather.

Also, the quality of the rock was superb. We climbed on a dark limestone with lots of little side-pulls and edges, quite different fro the pockets we’d gotten used to in Spain. We found several of the climbs surprisingly difficult for their grade and heard from some locals that they climbed here every week and had gotten the routes totally wired.

Despite struggling on what we thought were grades we should be able to climb, we loved the rock. The Gallerie also had the most unique approach—via a staircase up to the roof of a tunnel above the local road!

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