Badami and Hampi – Here We Come!

February, 2014

I’ve heard a lot about the climbing in India. I knew about Hampi and I was aware of Badami and I was psyched to check it out myself, once I had time. But I was not sure when that time might come. Early last spring I got an offer from Red Bull India to climb with one of their athletes, Tuhin Satarkar. The plan was to meet in Austria first and then go to India together. The idea sounded great and I was eager to participate.

Tuhin came in December, not the best time for outdoor climbing, and he froze his fingers on our trip to Arco and Algund. Although climbing was a bit sketchy because of the cold, we had a great time and most importantly, got along really well. We made our plans for the upcoming trip to India and settled on Badami for sport climbing and possibly bolting new routes if we found any.

My turn to visit Tuhin came in February 2014, I had just returned from a trip to Israel and Jordan, and I thought it couldn’t get any more better than that. I travelled with Hannes Mair, a camera man from Innsbruck and good friend from earlier trips. After missing all our flights (4) due to visa complications (the envoy misread the delivery time and was „sorry“) we eventually arrived in Badami late at night. Our first impressions comprised scary roadside moments like passing despite reasonable contraindications (in a country where people don’t buckle up because they belief in fate).

The next days surpassed our imaginations: odors, sounds, the heat, food, traffic…. but also the great potential for climbing, awesome sandstone etc. we just found it hard to handle. And we got sick, accordingly. However, we achieved what we had set out to. I was able to repeat the wonderful Ganesh (8b+), bolted by Alex Chabot and freed by Gerome Pouvreau. The route sits stunningly above the city of Badami and is pure, powerful and beautiful altogether. I might as well call it one of the best routes I have climbed in this grade. Tuhin managed to snatch the first Indian ascent shortly after Paige Claassen managed the first female ascent in late December.

We continued by bolting a couple of new lines, of which two remain projects. I was really close to send one of them, but failed eventually. The route is south-faced and the heat wouldn’t relent even overnight. When we arrived at the cliff before sunrise the rock was still warm and as soon as the sun was out I managed one sensible attempt before retreating into shadier sectors. So the projects remain and I need to come back!

To treat us well, we decided to spend the last days of our trip in Hampi. We enjoyed some late-night boulder sessions and cherished sleeping in, had lots of beers with the climbers at the Goan Corner and found it hard to part with our new friends, with Tuhin, Viplove and India as such.

Check out Hannes Mair’s website: