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Trad Climbing

France is Haute

Perhaps you’ve seen me climbing around the gym the odd night or two during the week. I’m usually the one keeping to myself quietly and trying to lap as many of the hardest problems during the night. I’m Brian Kim and I am a climber/architecture student. I’ll be running a blog series this summer covering my exploits throughout Europe. Right now I’m in the Haute-Savoie (Southern Alps) region of France for one week with my friend David who has come to visit family in France. This week is all about climbing before I have to head back to London for a summer study program.


We initially had a good plan for the week, but it’s not going as anticipated. We had our hopes set on climbing some beautiful alpine routes in the Chamonix region but it looks like this isn’t going to happen due to poor weather. I flew into Lyon from London on Monday morning and went straight to the crag of Brison-St-Innocent near the town of Aix les Bains (I was pretty eager to get onto some rock after travelling around for 2 days). It was a beautiful location above Lake Bourget and was a great opportunity to stretch out and climb some moderate routes. Unfortunately, I started feeling tired and dehydrated after only 3 routes and felt the onset of jet-lag. Even so, it was still nice to be outside, climbing in the sun, in France!


Classic 6b at Brison-St-Innocent. Photo by


Things took a turn for the worst for me that night when I was treated to a french dinner experience by David’s mom. This included fresh foie gras, meat pies, salad, pudding, wine and champagne. The food was amazing, but I wasn’t used to the richness of it all. Things just didn’t combine well and I spent the night by the toilette in agony.

Foie Gras
Headache, nauseous, weak.

The weather the next day showed itself to be particularly good. Still feeling weak and nauseous from my long night, I really just wanted to sleep, rest and recover but I couldn’t let the day be wasted (especially since the forecast for the rest of the week looked bleak for the area we are in). Next, I somehow ended up in Chamonix on a cable car which flew to the top of the Midi at ~12,500 ft where I really felt like crap. This week was turning out to be awesome!


Climbers nearing the top of the Midi. Photo by
The Grepon. Photo by

I’m feeling better at this point and there’s still a few days I have in the area. Tomorrow we’ll be cragging near Lake Annecy. Weather is poor in this area for the next few days, so we’re going to head down south to the Verdon Gorge. We’ll then come back and do some local cragging again before we drive to Paris for the weekend. Not the best start to a trip, but things can’t get much worse from here right?…