Visitors while climbing

Rock climbing in Badami

Badami in the north of Karnataka is not one of the most beautiful cities that you must have seen in India – but surely it is for climbers worth a visit. The town offers some cave temples as well as a huge pool of water called Agastytirtha which as accompanied by a Bhutanatha Temple. I must confess that I was more focussed on the landscape with its overwhelming rock formations. The town itself is noisy, dusty and dominated by Muslims. Every morning we were woken up at 5:45 by a friendly muezzin. What is interesting about the town are the small boars that can be found all over town in huge numbers. They rummage through the piles of garbage and open drainages for food. Moreover, they have no fear to cross the street in the bustle of rickshaws, buses, trucks, two-wheelers and cattle cars – without crashing.

Rock Climbing in Badami

The red sandstone cliffs offer beautiful climbs. Badami ist famous fot the  route “Ganesh” (8b+), which belongs to the Holy Grails of the Indian and the international climbing community. However, one should be prepared before travelling to Badami for climbing. Climbing is not a popular sport here. There are no climbing shops. You should bring all the equipment you.  Topo Guides are mostly outdated. Plenty of routed have been created over the last years. However, locals like to remove the first bolts, so you should bring some “hangers” or nuts with you! Why would they do this? No one could tell us. If you did not bring all your gear, you can rent material from local climbers at inflated prices by Indian standards. The Indians like to do a good business. But more important: be aware that the material is old and outdated. So always check well before renting equipment. Prices for a rope are about 1000 rupee per day. Food for thought: For 1000 rupee I can afford one night and three large meals a day.

Apart from that, foreign climbers are still seldomly seen. If you have been discovered on a crag, a group of man will join you quickly and it can feel a bit like being an attraction in a zoo. For a female solo traveller it can become quite complicated or unpleasant as mostly man will approach you. Moreover the knowledge of the English language was limited in town. In our case it was overwhelming being confronted with more than 30 men watching us climbing. I was a little bit worried in the beginning but we climbed in a group of four and all residents have been super friendly and very interested in us and the sport itself.

The residents in Badami generally have been very friendly and helpful. The kids are adorable like everywhere. One is greeted with a smile and a “Hello” on the streets, combined with lots of hand shaking and asking for your name. All had in common the question for a school pen. School pens seem to be an important currency for the children. In Peru, for example, the children always asked for cookies. This ist of course better than asking for money – which previously occurred in the tourist areas of Goa and Hampi. My plan for the future will therefore be to buy a pack of pens – even if there is a risk that the kids will spread the news like wildfire.