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Hampi and other Adventures in India

I went to India for one reason, to travel to the mythical boulders of Hampi. Like so many others I caught my first glimpse of Indian granite from the DVD Pilgrimage, featuring Chris Sharma and company shredding on the endless sea of boulders. It was too tempting, I had to go. What I wasn’t expecting when I booked my flight was 20 hour train journeys, 40 degree heat and chasing buses in rickshaws. To put it simply, India is mental!


So the plan was simple me and the local Shrewsbury barkeep/rock genius Si Marlow would head over to India for 6 weeks and shred the gnar! We were both in agreement that we were the least capable pair of travellers ever to come from Shropshire but decided to take it in our stride.

The first morning I was keen to pound some pavement and check out India! We had to go to Victoria terminus to buy the train tickets. So we made our way there sampling some of the various culinary delights that every street in Mumbai is blessed with. After a several hour wait for our turn in the queue we had our tickets to Hampi! With our train only leaving at 9 pm the next day, we hit up the Indian bars and got psyched for some gnarly boulders.surfers-traverse

double-tap1-200x300The-climbing in Hampi is sharp, fingery and very physical. It took me a few weeks to get used to this style of climbing and the more time I spent amongst the boulders the more I was amazed at the Variety and sheer volume of climbing. The boulders go on further than you can see in every direction, mind boggling. Yet there has been extremely little development of climbing in this region of India.

Hampi is definitely a boulderers paradise but there is a massive amount of traditional and sport climbing potential. In six weeks I barely scratched the surface of what Hampi had to offer.

Arriving in Hampi we discovered various guest houses, all i-am-comfort1-300x225within a 10 minute walk to the boulders. We booked ourselves into “the Goan corner”, a double room cost us 75 rupees each per night, about £1.30! With plenty of hammocks, slacklines and milkshake this was the perfect place to chill when it got too hot to climb. Basically everyone in Hampi is either a climber or a Hippie, so theres always some sort of “session” going on.

A place I wanted to mention is Badami. Badami is a 12 hour bus ride from Hampi, it’s nowhere near as pretty, in fact it’s a shithole. But it has a huge amount of Sandstone. Very different from the Nesscliffe sandstone I was used to, these holds actually stayed on! Badami had a mix of Bouldering and sport climbing, however most of the first bolts on every route had been removed by locals, one of these bolts was worth a weeks wages if sold to the right person.

badami-300x225This place has an absolutely massive amount of unclimbed rock. It is rumoured that there is more rock in Badami than there is in Arapiles, with less than 100 routes. I saw 200 metre towers of sandstone and hundreds of valleys and alcoves each containing perfect walls of beautifully textured and patterned sandstone. Forget Stanage, this place has a lifetimes worth of climbing!

I-would thoroughly recommend a Trip to India to anyone, If you don’t go for the climbing go for the culture. I spent 6 weeks there and it worked out to about £100 per week. So now there’s no excuse, it’s cheap and there’s endless climbing!


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