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: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2076