Trying to sum up top ten climbing destinations visited in 2017, I am looking back a year ago celebrating the NY's eve on a climbing week in Leonidio, Greece, exactly the same place where we have started and ended the year 2017.
The winter was fulfilled with local, regional and international snow mostly engaged with the Balkan telemark gathering as a 3rd year promotion of this sport on the Balkans.
I would definitely highlight February when I have visited my dear friends in the heart of "the high Alps" - the magic La Grave, where you can ski, ice climb or climb rocks sometimes even at the same time.
Then, early spring took me to south of Italy, climbing and skiing the highest European active volcano, Etna in Sicily. This short trip ended up with couple of intensive climbing weeks in Spain surrounded with amazing scenery and high quality rock.
In the late spring to early summer my working base was moved to Montenegro where I have discovered another beautiful climbing site near Podgorica.
Work brought me home in Macedonia for busy summer season where we get to share some nice climbing moments with friends, on the friendly local crags.
Autumn time called another adventure turning into spontaneous road trip climbing in Portugal, Spain and France. Perfect temperature allowed some rock training back home again at the end of the year just before the traditional NY's climbing trip to Greece that we aim to repeat every year.
All these activities were of course incorporated with a kind of normal living and existential engagements and very limited budget as well. They were all worth for a long term training and preparing for more technical ascents on the big mountains, hopefully coming up soon :)
So, let's stick to the top ten with a photo and little word for each one.
1. La Grave (FR)
You can call it paradise for all outdoors and action sports, from steep skiing to any type of climbing. The nature has been really generous designing this unique mountainous landscape. Good for any time of the year depending what you choose as your desired activity.
2. Siurana (E)
Perfect temperatures in spring and fall season, all types of routes, challenging for upgrading your level in a very supportive and inspiring community.
3. Chulilla (E)
One of the most stunning scenery I've ever seen, long and demanding routes again inspiring for improving your climbing skills. Good choice and temperatures for spring, autumn and winter climbing.
4. Smokovac (MNE)
Untouched limestone in the heart of the Balkans, discover beautiful mountains of Montenegro and catch up the friendly climbing community to show you around some sport or trad routes.
5. Kadina (MK)
The most overhanging walls in Macedonia, located near Skopje. Plenty of routes from lower grades to unclimbed projects. Agreeably sunny even for winter days.
6. Zli Dol, Mavrovo, Matka and Demir Kapija (MK)
Routes for everyone, long traditional to shorter sport routes on slab or overhanging limestone.
Good for climbing year round.
7. Guia (PT)
Perfect October time on Portugal see cliffs. Stunning colors and climate near Lisbon (Caxcais)
8. Rodellar (E)
Perfect training on demanding overhanging walls, while there is a big variety down the entire gorge.
9. Milau (FR)
Autumn is great in the south of France. The region of gorge du Tarn offers high quality technical climbs on long crimpy white limestone.
10. Leonidio (GR)
Perfect place to end up the year with spring temperatures on the rocks of Peloponez penincula, Greece. Fast developing locality with routes that are enlarging the number from year to year. Highly recommended to visit especially in low season if you are willing to avoid the big crowd and extremely hot days during summer.