Summer sending in Gorge du Tarn!
August, September and October are usually my best climbing months as I have had time to get in shape after the alpine season and lots of great climbing spots are in their prime time, and I'm not just thinking of Ceuse... I have really been struggling to send my long time project Le poinconneur des lilas (8A+) so I decided to go to Gorge du Tarn and enjoy some of the really, really, really long sport routes they have, but more importantly go onsight climbing.
Gorge du Tarn is mythic and for me, it always seams to live up to my expectations, having been there a few times and watched the locals do the monster 80/90 meter routes in one single pitch, I decided it was time to pick up their game and try it out. It’s wicked! You tie in with two 80 meter ropes like you where going to climb with a double rope. Off you go and climb the first 40 meters on one of the two ropes. When you reach the belay you clip the second rope in to a draw at the belay and pass it and clip the next two bolts, then when you have 3 point on your second rope you untie/drop the first rope. And voila you are free from lots of nasty rope drag and just press on to the next belay at 80 meters or higher... If higher the person belaying needs to tie the dropped rope in to the one currently used for climbing up there... Then when at the belay its like normal you re-thread and lower off to the first belay at 40 meter and re-thread. Having dropped the first rope above the 40-meter belay gives you enough free way to be lowered down. You obviously need two belay devices such as Gri-Gris or eddys. The simple solution is to just let the Gri-Gri stay on the rope going up when you lower off. DISCLAIMER: DO NOT TRY THIS BASED ON THIS CONFUSED DESCRIPTION.
Above: As the late Alex Lowe said, "The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun!"
Any way the style of climbing in Tarn is really cool and relaxed. The routes second pitches are almost always of way better quality than the first more accessible pitch. What I also like is that the second pitch almost always is clean from chalk and tick marks so it’s a much more pure onsight feeling. As I'm quite week and lack power but climb lots, the long endurance routes suit me perfectly and I really like the rock and style in Tarn, its like it was made for me. I think that if I'm to break the 8a+ ceiling, it’s going to happen in Tarn, on a 70 meter monster. I tried a few but decided not to get in to the redpoint coma and instead focused on climbing lots on slightly easier routes. That strategy really paid off big time and I think I did some of the best sport climbing efforts I have ever performed not only due to the fact that the style in Tarn suits me but also due to the fact that I have lost a few kilograms and started with some finger training. I'm now really psyched to see if I can manage to pull of a hard onsight on a big alpine wall... Time will tell... Until then get out and crush!
During August and the first days of September I climbed about 60 routes. In Gorge du Tarn I averaged about 240 meters of climbing a day above 7a for 8 days.
Working on/ Tried:
8A+ Philosophe 8a+, Gorges Du Tarn
8A+ Self control 8a+, 70 meters, Gorges Du Tarn
8A+ Le poinconneur des lilas, Ceuse
8A+ Premiers choux fleurs 8a/8a+, 70 meters, Gorges Du Tarn
8A No Name in Tournoux, 50 meters
Some of the stuff I sent in August
7C+ Orange Sanguine, second go, 55 meters, Gorges Du Tarn
7C+ Le String a fredo, second go, 40 meters, Gorges Du Tarn
7C+ Vous Etes trop glo dites, 5th, Grand Bois
7C+ La grande arch, 7th... 40 meters, Hard for the grade, Fessourier
7C Archinide, second go, 35 meters, Gorges Du Tarn
7C Ecaille volante non identifiée (7c+ in topo but I'd say 7C). 55 meters, First try, Gorges Du Tarn. I should have tried to onsight it....
7B+ PP2, 90 meters in one pitch, onsight, Gorges Du Tarn
7B+ Stihliscime, 60 meters, onsight, Gorges Du Tarn
7B+ Hip Hop, onsight, Fessourier
7B+(7C in topo) Punishman Park, 30 meters 45° crack... second go, Ailefroide
7B+ Flash New sector, Ailefroide
7B La grand aventure, 80 meters in one pitch, onsight, Gorges Du Tarn
7B 200000 dans ta gueule, 80 meters in one pitch, onsight, Gorges Du Tarn
7B ??, 55 meters, onsight, Gorges Du Tarn
7B Rase ta pea Paulo, second go, Tournoux
7B Aller en chine, onsight, Ceuse
7B New sector, onsight, Ailefroide
7A+ Maxus Terrus, 60m, onsight, Gorges Du Tarn
7A+ Tarnosaurus, 80 meters in one pitch, onsight, Epic last 40 meters on only 5 draws... Run it out!! Gorges Du Tarn