Saturday, 1 December 2012

Russan Trip

Wow this was probably the part of the year for me after driving all the way down to the south of France after a horrible two day slog we arrived at a lovely campsite just outside Nimes. On the first day we went to Mont Gaussier which was a beautiful mountain crag with some lovely climbing. After warming up I flashed a 7b+ which I got really pumped on but wasn't near to falling of because the moves were easy. After that I belayed my brother on Rattlesnake which was a power endurance 8a. To my surprise and awe he onsighted it with no problem. Now the pressure was it was my first really big chance of an 8a flash. I got the beta of my brother and cruised the powerful start. The crux was a long move to a side pull and then a big drop knee to reach the next pocket. I got to the move and by a costly mistake put my foot on the wrong foot hold and missed the crucial pocket. Gutted!!! I then went on to crush it next go.

That night there was 60 mph and our tent was taking a total battering. In the morning just as it got light I was awoken by a tearing noise. The tent had ripped!! We franticly took our stuff out and put it in the car before it blew away. Soon we were sat in our car wondering what we were going to do next fortunately we soon found a big gite to stay in. I was happy because we wouldn't have to stay in a freezing tent but gutted because we missed most of the days climbing. The only climbing I managed that day was a 6c and a sketchy as 7a followed by a really nice 7c which I did second go. The next day we went to Claret and it was really hot almost too hot to climb. The climbing there was really hard with weird features and hard moves. This was defiantly the  worst day of the trip I dropped a 6c+!! which had a blank slab on it!! As well as this I backed out of a 6b+ at the second clip!! On the other hand I did flash an amazing 7b with a trick knee bar in the middle of the roof.

Pipeline 8a
The next day easily made up for the failure of the day before. After doing a quick warm up of a 6c and 7a+ I got straight in with the hard stuff by trying Pipeline 8a. To make a long story short it was really hard!! I had to fight on ever move on the top section. It was brutal huge moves on bad tufas with crap feet!!! After the first five goes I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to do it, I was too weak. But luckily my brother showed me some new beta and then it felt possible. I got to the pitiful rest before the crux and had a quick shake. Built my feet up and made the full span move to the next tufa, but my heel on and reaching into the small crimps before matching and making sure I had them good. I was so pumped by this point and I screamed as I dead pointed into the next awful tufa. I desperately scrabbled with my feet and slapped into the jug undercut. Sticking that hold was one of the best feelings I've had all year. I believe that Pipeline was my hardest route I've done. I was thrilled!! It wasn't over then though. My sights were now set on another 8a! My brother went up first and said it was not too hard so I had a go. On the flash I fell of the first crux which was a really cool slappy boulder problem on little tufas. Then there was a good rest but it soon got hard again. There was a blank section of wall with only the smallest crimps for hands. Then big rock overs and sketchy moves to reach the belay. After working out the moves I went for it. The bit I fell of earlier felt easy and I crimped the hell out of the holds on the crux and just managed to scrabble my way to the chains. Once again I had done two 8as in a day!!

Next we travelled to the Gorge de Tarn here we stayed with a lovely English couple who had moved to the Gorge because it was a beautiful place to live and I don't blame them it really was spectacular. It was a shame we didn't get to do much climbing there but the routes we did do were amazing. The style required lots of endurance and good route finding skill because there were so many holds but most were not as good as they seemed. I really want to go back there to try some of the harder routes and climb some amazing climbs. Overall this trip has been a roller costa ride with highs of climbing Pipeline and lows of having our tent riped apart and failing on a 6c+ but I will never forget it and I can't wait to go back and crush some more!!:)

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