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Fairly Long, Moderately Hard and Mostly Free (Read 171606 times)

duncan

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Thanks jwi.

When Graham Hoey was promoting his Gritstone guidebook the second half of his talk consisted of adventures on some of the routes in Musatto's vol. one. I'm afraid to say I found this more inspiring than his gritstone exploits!

cheque

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for each route a grade E1-E4 details how far it is between the points of protection

It’ll never catch on.

Johnny Brown

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Book sounds great.

Quote
for each route a grade E1-E4 details how far it is between the points of protections and a grade F1 (12 mm stainless bolts) to F6 (no fixed gear) gives information of the quality of fixed gear.

But no indication as to whether the gaps are easy or impossible to protect with your own gear?

jwi

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Book sounds great.

Quote
for each route a grade E1-E4 details how far it is between the points of protections and a grade F1 (12 mm stainless bolts) to F6 (no fixed gear) gives information of the quality of fixed gear.

But no indication as to whether the gaps are easy or impossible to protect with your own gear?

If so, it is described in the text, usually in a vague terms like "a few friends might be useful to lessen the runouts on the easier pitches" giving the impression that the author definitely did not bring any gear. To be fair, many of the routes would require gear wizardry on a level rarely found on the continent to significantly improve the security.

Routes requiring gear, indicated with TA (for "terrain d'adventure") or TAP (for "terrain d'adventure protégé" for mostly bolted routes), are also given a grade E1-E4 depending on how spaced the protection is. Only on routes indicated by TAP a specific rack is given.

jwi

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Thanks jwi.

When Graham Hoey was promoting his Gritstone guidebook the second half of his talk consisted of adventures on some of the routes in Musatto's vol. one. I'm afraid to say I found this more inspiring than his gritstone exploits!

It looks like there are some excellent adventures to be found by following the recommendations in the second volume as well!

Fultonius

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Strone / Sron? :)

Elsewhere in Scotland there are a couple of routes on the Main Bastion of the Shelterstone that run to 8 pitches or so and are 3* routes; Haystack E3, Steeple E2, The Needle E1, Stone Bastion E5. Not done them myself, but they look excellent. There are a few on Creag an Dubh Loch too, although most of the harder routes only run to 5 or 6 pitches.

Also The Spire at E4 (basically a 2 pitch variation of either The Steeple or Haystack) and the newer route called The Heel Stone.
Did The Spire yesterday, which was a wake up to the senses - clearly my Cairngorm granite-foo is weak, got up it but was pretty out of ideas in a few sections. Nearly peeled off the "4b" second pitch (5b/c), and the big nuts decided they had had enough mid crux and decided to unclip themselves from my harness and run for freedom. Back to the car at 11pm - proper day out!   :great: :great:

Left shoulder feeling a bit poorly, but nothing major I think. Deffo a nudge too short in stature to really feel like the "mini bigwalls" of the thread, but a perfect proving ground and mini adventure in it's own right.

SA Chris

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I have (had while the weather was good) a hankering for something long in the mountains, still not been to Dubh Loch.

Apparently it looked like a mini festival camp up there over the warm spell, about a dozen folk camped by the shore.

Fultonius

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I have (had while the weather was good) a hankering for something long in the mountains, still not been to Dubh Loch.

Apparently it looked like a mini festival camp up there over the warm spell, about a dozen folk camped by the shore.

Aye, even Friday there were 10 or so tents. Went to Beinn a Bhuird for Freebird with Andy on Saturday - nice to get that one done - great fun!

jwi

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Three more recommendations from Verdon: https://steepground.blogspot.com/2021/10/three-more-recommended-routes-in-verdon.html

(La Demande, Au-delŕ du Délire and Dame Cookie. Dame Cookie might fail on the Moderately Hard bit 🤷🏼‍♂️)

duncan

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Great stuff! The first two definitely count and good beta for Au-delŕ du délire, certainly on the list.

I did La Demande in 1980 on my second Verdon trip when this style really clicked for me. A really enjoyable experience. Had to rescue a well-known South West (England) activist benighted in the final chimneys on the same trip. He wouldn't be the last.

jwi

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I did La Demande in 1980 on my second Verdon trip when this style really clicked for me. A really enjoyable experience. Had to rescue a well-known South West (England) activist benighted in the final chimneys on the same trip. He wouldn't be the last.

I do not know when the drilled protection appeared in the final chimneys, but in 1968 they had one piton on the last overhanging stem-chimney bit. Now it has three bolts and is one of the best protected parts of the route. The leader is unlikely to risk their life in the top chimneys anymore, but they are still awkward.

We had a real traffic jam where we got stuck behind a team on La Demande and a french team on La pâte demande, which shares a pitch and a half with La demande. I chatted a bit with the French team and told them I was absolutely sure that the team ahead of us would get benighted, and so would we if we did not manage to pass. (We started fashionably late in the day of course). One of the french guy looked at me and said "You will also be benighted, even if you pass the other team. Count on the chimneys to take twice as long as the total time up to the chimneys".

(It turned out that the slow team was equally slow/fast on chimneys as on hand- and finger-cracks. So I think they managed to get up in time)

petejh

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Jonas, have you done 'La Costa', or any other routes, on Les Vuardes in the Arve valley? Wondering how it compares to La Demande. I did costa a few years ago plus some other routes on that cliff, great place!

jwi

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I have only climbed a single multi pitch in Haute-Savoie, that was « Zauberberg » on the nearby Parois de Graumusset. Someone I trust said that La Costa felt like 6a/b, so slightly harder than La Demande then I suppose? On Les Vuardes, « Papy fait de la resistance » certainly looks interesting, but I am rarely in that area.

Fultonius

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Just got back from 6 weeks big-walling in Kyrgyzstan, I'll stick a small amount of info and some photos up here to try and get other Brits psyched to go out there - seems like Americans, Germans, and Russians have the most info on the place, we were the second british team in the last decade or something!

So the Karavshin area is about 45km walk from the nearest road in Vorukh, you will need to hire donkeys. There's a company called Ak Sai who if you pay them lots of money will actually sort you out a plane from Bishkek to Batken and then a helicopter to the valley, we didn't want to do that so we got taxis for the entire length of kyrgyzstan and then got Ak Sai to sort out our donkeys, which didn't work so we ended up hiring them off the local garrison. I digress, essentially the point is either you need someone who speaks Russian well enough to haggle with taxi drivers or you need to pay Ak Sai lots of money.

When you get there, there are are two valleys, Ak-Su and Kara-Su. Ak-Su has the Perestroika Crack which everyone does (7b and normally climbed over 3 days, there are two big ledges to sleep on apparently), and Kara Su has Yellow Wall, home to Diagonal Route on Yellow Wall, which, again, everybody does (one pitch of 7a, the rest is much easier I believe, and usually climbed in a day). We didn't do either of those routes though, mainly because everybody does them and we wanted to be a bit different.

Peak 4810 is the most hellishly impressive mountain-suitable-for-rock-climbing I have ever seen, here is a picture: (sorry it's FB)

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/533770_10151100837341225_1433408746_n.jpg

It's about 1200m vertically, takes about 3.5 hours to walk in from base camp with heavy bags and the last bit is up a nasty bit of glacier, I actually ended up leading the fucking-terrifying first pitch (F7a slab climbing protected entirely by RPs and pitons I placed on lead, I am never doing anything like that again ever) to get out of carrying one of the haul bags up the glacier. It faces NW so gets the sun in the afternoons, this means that every morning there is a fairly serious build up of ice on the inside of your portaledge. It would be possible to climb it without portaledges as there are a few good ledges but you would need to move VERY fast and be pretty confident - we packed 6 days worth of food and 8 days worth of water, but right from the beginning we rationed ourselves as much as we could which was just as well as we were on the wall for 10 days. All the routes on the NW face were put up as aid routes in the late 80s and 90s, the first ones were mainly winning entries in the USSR climbing championships. I have no idea about aid climbing and even less about Russian grades (they all got the maximum Russian grade of 6B), but I would say that you do not want to have to aid the first pitch - it would involve copperheads or drilling bolts!

Ok so we did the Mirror Route:

http://mountains.tos.ru/kopylov/pict/g8.gif

We did it entirely free in 40 pitches at about 7b+. The first pitch was absolutely terrifying, there was one other very run-out 7a-ish slab but the rest wasn't too awful (mainly good-but-sometimes-spaced protection and climbing in the 6s), with two well protected pitches of 7b and one of 7b+ (these crux pitches were all absolutely superb on immaculate rock):

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/487606_10151242088259595_1040962822_n.jpg

We did need to take crampons for the summit ridge sadly, I now have a deep seated hatred of rock with snow on it.

We also did a new route on Peak Kotina, we're working on a topo but it took probably the best line on the crag through as much steep ground as we could find, and always taking the easiest line through it. The rock is incredibly free-climbable,  all the steep bits turned out to be about 4 grades easier than they looked! The crux pitch (7a) was escaping a groove through a series of blocky roofs to a belay on the prow of the entire mountain at about 3/4 height, we think the route is about 1000m and have called it Dreaming Spires, we would definitely recommend it as the rock is mainly sublime (ok there are a few pitches where the rock is whack but its a 26 pitch route and the good bits are worth it!)

https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/225971_10151100836096225_557687990_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/376571_10151100849446225_1969791675_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/305033_10151100859431225_846635480_n.jpg

There's a vast amount of rock, much of it unclimbed. The hardest route done out there was in the Ak Su valley and had one hard pitch of 7c/+ and a few pitches of around 7a+, there is probably potential for harder though! So there is a lot of potential for new-routing, and a lot of potential for trying to free Soviet aid routes of the late 80s, and a lot of opportunity for bivvying in fairly unpleasant conditions. The Russian climbing team was there and they were the hardest men I have ever met - they did a different route to us on Peak 4810 almost entirely free in Alpine style in 4 days, with 7 litres of water between them and sleeping in slings! They said the hardest pitch was 'quite dangerous', which turned out to mean 7b with no gear for the entire rope length. When they got back they stayed up tol 1am drinking vodka, then got up at 5 30am the next day to chase cows away from the campsite with a shovel. The day after that, one of them casually did Perestroika Crack........

Anyway, I would recommend the place to anyone a bit harder, fitter, and psyched for rock-climbing-based-mountaineering than myself (I nearly died on some of the approaches!). I have to admit for the foreseeable future I am going to be a single-pitch sport-climbing pansy!

Starting to research / get psyched for some potential trips... Do you still have any of the photos - none of the FB links seem to be working.

i_a_coops

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Photos and trip report here:
https://biviartistry.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/how-i-started-sleeping-in-stupid-places-or-what-i-did-on-my-holidays-in-kyrgyzstan/

Route description for our fairly long, moderately hard and entirely free route here:
https://biviartistry.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/route-descprition-for-dreaming-spires/

I'm starting to get extremely psyched to get back there next summer or the summer after, so feel free to message me with dates if you do decide to go as I think that valley is significantly less scary the more climbers are staying there! When it was just us for the last couple of weeks of our trip it was terrifying....

Wood FT

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Fantastic Ian, really out there. Really enjoyed reading about it again.

i_a_coops

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Thanks :) Digging that up has got me all nostalgic for the bygone days of slightly cringe climbing blogs.... can't indulge like that these days on Instagram!  ;)

Wood FT

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Thanks :) Digging that up has got me all nostalgic for the bygone days of slightly cringe climbing blogs.... can't indulge like that these days on Instagram!  ;)

I’m jealous, I deleted mine before I applied for some jobs and I do miss being able to see an older version of oneself.

Fultonius

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I really miss more long form climbing writing, blogs etc. Would happily see instawank fall off a cliff.

Fultonius

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Ian - sent you a PM etc. We're thinking Mid August to Mid September and going to start doing some proper planning up to xmas. Would be good to share some thoughts / poach all of your potential new routes. Any or food stashes we shoud know about?

Yossarian

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I've been going through a severe case of armchair FLMHMF over the past couple of weeks, watching loads of videos, and wondering why I didn't want to climb la Demande (which looks insanely good fun) in August 1997 (I think I was still freaked out by La Costa at Les Vuardes and also thought that the chimneys would be slippery limestone versions of the ones in the Eiger Sanction)

Going back through the Val di Mello guide and the 2nd most recent Plaisir Sud, there appear to be quite a lot more long and not too hard things high up above the Bagni end of Val Masino. I imagine there's harder stuff too, but not sure which guide it would be in (actually, probably ExtremSud?)

I also found this https://paolo-sonja.net and this:



on the higher stuff in Val di Mello that I didn't really take in when we were there. The latter looks pretty awesome...

seankenny

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Saw this on insta the other day, the Sasso Cavallo, described by Matteo della Bordella as: "Remote, wild and with bulletproof limestone".

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYMkAX5of_r/

Looks like a cool wall, and it's just above Lake Como which is very lovely by all accounts (my better half went there a couple of  years ago). Has anyone climbed here? I'm assuming it's in the Versante Sud "Lario Paretti" guide. The route MdB did is probably best described as an ambitious goal for me but it would be cool if there were easier routes on equally good rock. It's also less than an hour from one of Milan's airports.


« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 07:05:15 pm by seankenny »

jwi

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Looks like a nice piece of rock. Plenty of other routes to go at as well https://www.ramellasergio.it/Testo/GRIGNE/SASSO_CAVALLO/_schizzi_sasso_cavallo.html

Wood FT

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Saw this on insta the other day, the Sasso Cavallo, described by Matteo della Bordella as: "Remote, wild and with bulletproof limestone".

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYMkAX5of_r/

Looks like a cool wall, and it's just above Lake Como which is very lovely by all accounts (my better half went there a couple of  years ago). Has anyone climbed here? I'm assuming it's in the Versante Sud "Lario Paretti" guide. The route MdB did is probably best described as an ambitious goal for me but it would be cool if there were easier routes on equally good rock. It's also less than an hour from one of Milan's airports.




 :ohmy:

jwi

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RACS, ED+, 7a+, Ordesa Valley, Pyrenees.

I followed the "getting back into trad" thread with some trepidation as this route was high on my list of things to do this spring. We were four climbers out of the Toulouse-Ariege area with the intention of doing this over the French bank holiday in late May, but as one had to pull-out due to family visits I was left a bit on a loose end.

Luckily, while climbing in Rodellar, I ran into a German climber who lives in Norway and likes to climb the Troll wall (a good sign) and stuff. He also had half a rack in his van as he had climbed a bit in Montrebey (a very good sign) earlier in the trip, and took no effort at all to convince to climb RACS, even though he had never heard about Ordesa or the route.


RACS climbs the Muraille du Gallinero just left of the seasonal water-fall. Geminis or Zarathustra could be alternative routes, I gather.

Ordesa Valley is found in the Ordesa and Monte Perdido national park in the Pyrenees and is the oldest national park in Spain. A stunningly beautiful valley with lots of steep walls, well known to be very traditional, in the Spanish sense (some fixed pitons and threads but only joke bolts allowed, but minimal fixed gear overall).


Me starting up the first pitch.

The rock is a sandy limestone with very high friction that is really a pleasure to climb. The rock forms big square blocks piled on top of each other with alarming steepness.


It turned out that I remember how to fiddle in gear. I just fiddled in too much, and probably climbed a bit slow. No worries though as David is a complete monster. I most often climb long routes with my other half, where I am the physically stronger climber, or with young much stronger climbers where I am the more knowledgable about the technical aspects of multipitch climbing. I must say that there is something to be said for climbing with a partner that is ones superior in every aspect of the game.


David starting up pitch 2. As I cannot keep the camera straight: the haul line indicate the direction of gravity.


Near the belay of pitch 3


Pitch 4 “Para los buenos” or 7a+++ in the Spanish guide was surprisingly OK.

The second half of the route was almost as steep as the first bit, with most pitches overhanging (as the haul bag proved), but also easier and with some sections with either questionable or unprotectable rock, or both.

Overall a stunning classic in a stunningly beautiful valley. The route starts at just under 2000 masl, and while it was 30 degrees in Rodellar it was a cool 15-20 in Ordesa.

I have posted an impossibly long trip-report with more photos and a topo and everything on http://steepground.blogspot.com/2022/05/racs-ordesa.html

I am also happy to announce that I found more than five knee-bars on the route, three of them hands-off. As I do not know if Jesús Gálvez had any I am not sure if our ascent counts.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 09:50:31 am by jwi »

 

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