Friday, May 28, 2010

The French Files, Part 2...the Verdon!

We left the Gorges du Tarn and headed straight for the multi-pitch adventures of the Verdon Gorge. Single pitch sport cragging is great, but the memories really are made on the all day 10 pitch routes for me. Hanging on the walls, vultures circling below, azure blue river pounding away in the gorge 1,000 feet below you - this is what climbing is all about for me! Oh yeah, and did I mention it is a paradise in the south of France? Can you say amazing wine for 4€, great local produce and anamazing gite we were staying in that was only 23€ a night, totally solar powered and beautiful? Life is getting better every day.

I will break down the Verdon trip into a couple of posts, each focusing on the big routes we did. After countless hours of internet research, it seemed as thought there were 3 pretty classic long routes to tackle, at a good spread of grades as well.

Our first day we decided to try our hand at La Demande, 6a+, 400m. This was the original route that climbed the tallest section of cliff at the Verdon Gorge, as was kind of like first ascent of El Cap for the French in 1968. Being the major weakness of the biggest cliff, the climbing felt right at home being from North America and having done my time on the trad classics: chimney's and cracks, BUT with tons of bolts! I love France!

So in classic Verdon style, we drove up to the top of the cliff, walked 2 minutes to the rap station, and abseiled down 400m to the gorge bottom. We then walked 15 minutes to the base of our route and Voila, we were climbing. Being the first long route of the year for us, Jas and I were psyched to start off mellow for us for a route graded 5.10. Pitches went well, the climbing was fun and it was not nearly as polished as I feared it might be.

Good times for us, and we felt warmed up to tackle the next big route in the gorge: Pichenibule...but that is for next week!

For now here are some photos...and if you want any info on the Verdon, check out this GREAT article from UK Climbing:

Jas starts the 'approach'

The first few pitches of leaning cracks.

Jas follows the crux pitch (5 I think?)

Jas in the exit chimneys. 5.8 chimneys forever with bolts!

Back at home in our lovely Gite!

1 comment:

Blake said...

Great photos Evan! It definitely makes me want to visit sometime.