Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ceuse part 2

French local working 8c+.

The start of the Ceuse climbing season has been awesome with a great international crew of climbers. As always the start of my trip to Ceuse has been about getting used to the style and the length of the routes. Things are starting to click and sendage isn't far around the corner. It seems that most people find that it takes a bit of time to get into the swing of things here especially considering the hour approach slogging up a hill. The other day an Irish friend sent his first of the grade 7c+ project called 'Makach Walou' after three weeks effort which was inspiring for all at the crag. I played photographer for a day and managed to get a few good shots of the route. Will managed to get it too and yesterday flashed a 7c. I have done a few easier onsights and picked some quality projects including two 8a+'s both which i have done with only one fall. Hopefully they both fall quickly in the next week. Summer rolls on in paradise...

Campgound Shenanigans.

Damien O'Sullivan working Makach Walou 7c+.
Air time.
Will on Makach Walou.
Me working Face de Rat 8a+.
View from the cliff.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ceuse 2012 part 1

After leaving Buoux we only had two climbing days at St Leger as it was too hot and humid. Despite the dismal conditions Will managed to send his 8a project while i got frustrated and stripped my draws off the 8b i thought i was close to but in reality probably wasn't. We then raced to Ceuse for the cooler temps and better quality rock.
Upon arrival we were told that "Ondra's kicking about". A little bit excited to see the climber that has taken the "worlds best climber" crown off Sharma we wondered when/if we would see him. I had high hopes for my climbing the first day and decided i would try and crush an 8b to get me started here. After i warmed up i noticed someone had beaten me to my project. "I hope they dont take ages" i thought. I then watched as Ondra walked up the 8b as his warm up without even trying! I have since fallen all over it and have decided to leave it later in the trip when i am alot fitter.
Since that climb i have been dropping grades wondering were all my fitness on small crimps is and wether i had just tried all the soft routes on previous trips here so that now i was only left with the sandbagged ones? Theres something about Ceuse though which calms the soul. Any other area and my backward progress and lack of success would cause some serious frustration but the setting and quality of climbing here is so good you cant help but end each day happy. Also is there any other sport where you get to mingle with the worlds best without buying a ticket?
Yesterday a large crowd gathered under the Biographie sector to watch Ondra try to flash Realization 9a+. That means to climb an aussie grade 36 first shot but with information on the route. It was only 10 years ago this was the first 9a+ in the world climbed by Sharma after alot of attempts, an unbelievable achievement at the time. To climb this first shot would be a huge leap forward in the understanding of what is possible. It was amazing to watch and no he didnt do it. He fell on the boulder problem up high in the realization extension. He did however flash the Biographie 8c+ part which is an achievement in itself.

Tense times at the Biographie sector.

Ondra crushing within the famous blue streak of Biographie.

Friday, June 1, 2012

St Leger and Buoux

Will and I have spent the last few weeks first at St Leger and then Buoux trying to climb as much as possible. We may have left it a little late in the year as temps have been in the high twenties. Although too hot for prime conditions we have had some success with Will, who is still getting his fitness after just arriving, sending an 8a at St Leger and following it up with another at Buoux. I have started to feel some fitness coming my way finally although my 8b project at St Leger elluded me. I didnt go without success though as i did an 8a in the first few days  and then had one of my best days ever sending an 8a in the morning at St Leger before driving to Buoux and sending another second go in the evening! In the following few days i managed to work and send my hardest route of this trip so far which just happened to be the first 8a+(30) in the world called Chouca. Unfortunately since there isnt much of a crew at these crags we havent had a third person to get any photos or footage. I took a photo of Chouca and have used my best artistic skills to draw a representation of what it was like when i ticked it the other day;

The trip so far hasnt been without its negatives though. While i was sampling the delights of Buoux someone broke into the car and stole my laptop, kindle, and phone. Hopefully i can grab any climbing shots from the past few years off partners. Other than those its just expensive and annoying. We are currently in Apt waiting for a window to be replaced on the car before we will head back to St Leger for some unfinished business. We plan to get to the mecca of Ceuse in about a week for those cooler temps up high and thats where the real projecting will begin!