Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gorge du Tarn

What an amazing place! The Gorge du Tarn and connecting Gorge de la Jonte are packed with limestone crags over 50m high. Short steep routes are also on offer and rest days can be spent canoeing down the river that runs through the Gorge du Tarn. Even better is that the climbing is mostly holiday grades, meaning soft! There are exceptions though and the one route I wanted to do was one of those. The Tennessee wall is one of the most amazing crags with routes up to 55m long. The route "Tennessee" blasts straight up the obvious arete in the middle of the wall and was my main attraction to the area. I had one attempt when I arrived in the Tarn and it was nails. I dont think I had the time and definetely not the belayer to siege this route so I let it go.
Rob and I had arrived in a heatwave so not much climbing was done at the begining of our two weeks here. Often I would get to the crag early with only an hour of cool weather before temperatures sky rocketed and I would get one shot for the day. Over two mornings I managed to send "Le Ailes du Desire" 8a second shot which is an amazing 55m pitch up Tennessee. Robs old elbow injury flamed up again so sport climbing was off the cards for him. Instead he decided to head somewhere even hotter and flew to Egypt to see the pyramids and dive in the red sea.
A contigent of Perth climbers had turned up so I joined Remi, Delphine, Brian and Gesa in a nice gite above the gorges. Remi and Delphines family were also there and alot of time was spent at the dinner table eating five course meals! The good food, a real bed, and great company meant I started to hit form. In five days, one of which was a rest day, I managed to send four 8as and one 8a+. Brian also managed to get his first 8a which was motivating to see while Remi, Delphine and Gesa all did personal bests for the trip.
Brian testing out a hard sequence in the crux of "Tu me dezolve" 8a at the Muse sector, Gorge du Tarn.
Evening shot of me on "Tu me Dezolve".
Giving beta to Remi.
The final day before everyone went their seperate ways we spent in Gorge de la Jonte. I was knackered so I just chilled at a small crag at the base with Gesa while Remi and Delphine, Brian and Eric (a friend from Montpellier) formed teams to climb one of the most famous routes in the gorge. The "Arete Ouest" is an exposed three pitch 6a in a stunning position. It was great to sit back and watch them cruise up while Vultures soared in the space around them.
Brian (top) and Eric (bottom) on the "Arete Oest".
I have given back my lease car and downgraded the amount of gear I have so I now live out of two backpacks. The next stop is Rodellar after a couple of days in Barcelona. I have heard mixed reports about Rodellar this year so am excited to see what the scene is like. Will is joining me again after having some party time in London so we should get some good projecting done in the coming month.
Hands free at the begining of "Les Nouvelles Plantations du Christ" 8a.

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