Climbing for Two: climb when ready

Guest blogger: Valerie Van den Hende

This is the promised update to my post ‘Climbing for Two: to climb or not to climb’ from May 2013 in which I discussed my decision to continue with rock climbing at the same time as growing Baby Van den Hende, currently known to his friends as ‘Bump’.

Ready to climb with Bump.
Ready to climb with Bump.

Bump is due any day now, and Robin has been reminding me that it would be a good time for me to tell you about my experiences before life is filled with nappies and puke, and my brain can no longer string together a meaningful sentence.  Personally, I think my brain reached that stage a while ago, so there may have been some hefty editing to this post on my behalf by well-meaning relatives… Read more

Walking the rim of the Creux du Van

Approach Creux du Van from behind and it’ll surprise you.  Walk over Le Soliat from the south and it looks like the rest of the Jura – a pretty landscape of rounded mountains covered in woods and meadows with the odd bit of limestone sticking out of them.  But as you walk towards the northern side of the mountain, a crescent moon of rock appears, dropping roughly 150 metres deep and stretching around 1,400 metres wide in-front of you.

Creux du Van
Creux du Van

The Creux du Van is a limestone cirque formed by erosion and landslides caused by the water from a long-gone glacier.  It sits in the mountains a short drive from Neuchatel in Switzerland.  It’s probably because it isn’t in the Alps, that Creux du Van is not particularly well known.  Which is a shame because it is as dramatic as its bigger cousins further east and is in wonderful walking country.  On the other hand, this lack of wider recognition makes it a quieter place to visit than a lot of the tourist areas of the Alps. Read more

Climbing for Two: to climb or not to climb?

Guest blogger: Valerie Van den Hende

This climber has a baby on boardOne of our first considerations when thinking about trying for a family was would I have to stop climbing?  There seems to be a lot of conflicting advice (and some rather strong opposing views) on the internet on the subject of rock climbing during pregnancy.  General medical opinion appears to be that any activity where falling is likely should be avoided, as well as contact sports, anything that could result in even mild abdominal trauma and loaded twisting movements.  The reasons for this are obvious – clearly I wouldn’t want to cause any physical damage to either myself or our baby, but on the other hand, there are definite benefits from climbing, both physical and psychological.  And if pregnancy yoga is safe, then surely some aspects of rock climbing (or ‘yoga going upwards’ as I like to call it) could be ok? Read more