For the past few years I have gone on an annual climbing trip with a group of friends. Usually this has been in February time but because of university I was unable to do this trip. Never the less, I was invited on a trip with a group of climbers from the south. This was to Gorges du Loup where we stayed in a friend’s house near Nice. It was really cool staying in a big house with a big group of friends and the psyche was high despite the weather looking dodgy.
Flying out consisted of a very early start and a short drive to the airport for out 6:00 AM flight. Once we landed in Nice we sorted out the hire cars and drove on to the house. A quick bite to eat and we were off to the crag for our first days climbing. Deverse was the first crag on the agenda even though there were lots of rumours that it was seeping. It was. There were three dry lines on the whole crag. One of the dry routes was “Mechanik Destruktiv F7c”. I was psyched to get on this and got it sent 3rd redpoint. I was happy with this on the first day at a crag that was limited by wetness. One of the other routes was “New Power Generation F8b” which would really not have suited me so I decided to leave that for another time. I had a quick play on “Super Mechanik F8a” and got all of the moves sorted pretty fast and had one redpoint attempt. It wasn’t to be today but will be back to get this route another time.
Second day saw us at a crag called La Turbie. It was situated just above Monaco and overlooked the whole city. A pretty incredible view. The climbing at this crag was very limited due to the seeping of the rock so I didn’t really get much done on this day. “No Place For Geckos F6c+” was the first route I did. An amazing route which was really exposed and about 37 metres long. The first time up this route we managed to get off route and do some variation of the ending which was about F7a+. I then did a few more F6’s in the afternoon before we got rained off. Not the hardest days climbing but was still a pretty good day. Not every day you get to climb straight above Monaco.
Third day on and we were off to Mesa Verde. Once we arrived this crag looked like it would really suit me. I eyed up a few routes at the start and began warming up. First up I got the onsight on “Willy Wanca F6c+” which was a really good route. Good holds but quite big moves. Next up was “De La Terre au Ciel F7b”. I have never really done that much onsighting outside so I thought this would be a good route to go for. Sweet. My first on sight of F7b. It was now time for today’s project, “Petit Poucet F7c+” I pulled on with nothing to loose and went for an onsight. I dropped it pretty high up but was happy with what I did. As it turned out I was only six moves from the easier finishing terrain. With the moves worked. I went for a redpoint and came off two moves from the easier ending. 3rd redpoint and I latched the jug rest before the last few hard moves. After a brief rest, I pulled through and got the chain. Good route that one.
Fourth day on and I was back at Mesa Verde. “Castle Rock F7a+” was first up and is one of the most popular lines at Mesa Verde. I dropped this onsight but pulled back on and got it second go. After this I wanted to get on “Same Player Shoot Again F7c”. It was quite my anti style as it was powerful and not very sustained but this is what drew me to it. It took me a while to work out the top section, which was really pretty hard but got the moves done and it was just a case of the link up. On my 1st redpoint I came off the hardest move on the route, which was a big move to a crimp. 2nd go I dropped the same move but it was foot pop. 3rd redpoint was closest to the move but dropped it again. 4th redpoint I latched the hold and managed to keep it together and finish the route to end the day.
Fifth day and as the weather was shocking I decided to have a rest day. A few of us headed into town for a wander, and then headed back to the house and drank a lot of tea…
Sixth day saw me back at Deverse to try and link “Super Mechanik F8a”. I had got the moves worked out so it was just a case of warming up and going for it. The route was really powerful and was basically a F7b+ into a V6. 1st redpoint of the day and I came off the boulder problem. 2nd redpoint saw me falling one move further but still mid boulder problem. 3rd redpoint was the same again. And once I had done the 4th and 5th attempt I was shattered. It was obviously not meant to be this trip. I wasn’t too bothered by it though as it must have been good training having this many goes on something so hard for me.
The last day I decided to go back to Mesa Verde as the weather was nice and I fancied a really big mileage day of sendage. The “advanced team” (as we were known) got up early and headed off to the crag whilst everyone else was still sleeping. We arrived and went for speed. First up was “Pas de Bras, Pas de Chocolat F7a” which I got the onsight on. Second up was “Contrat Premier Envol F6c” I got the onsight on this and then went for the onsight on the extension graded F7b+. I got past the hard move only to be spat off the easier top section due to wetness. I dogged it to the top and retrieved my draws. I didn’t fancy getting back on a wet route. Third up was “Ma vie en l'air F7a+”, I had to grovel a bit on this but again, managed to get the onsight on this. Fourth route was “Hopi Birthday F7a”. This route was a bit wet in the middle but I managed to pull past this missing a couple of holds. Got the onsight on a pretty sick route. The fifth and final route was “Plat de Resistance F7b+” I went for the onsight but came of a move in the middle. After this the route was done so I came down and got back on to send it second go. Really happy with the last day of routes with some good onsights.
Petit Poucet F7c+ 3rd redpoint
Same Player Shoot Again F7c 4th redpoint
Mechanik Destruktiv F7c 3rd redpoint
Plat de Resistance F7b+ 2nd redpoint
De La Terre au Ciel F7b onsight
Ma vie en l'air F7a+ onsight
Castle Rock F7a+ 2nd redpoint
Pas de Bras, Pas de Chocolat F7a onsight
Hopi Birthday F7a onsight
Willy Wanca F6c+ onsight
No Place for Geckos F6c+ onsight
Contrat Premier Envol F6c onsight