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Fairly Long, Moderately Hard and Mostly Free (Read 112703 times)

SA Chris

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We made a predawn start for La Demande, started at first light. Felt like a commando raid through the tunnels with headtorches. Brilliant place.

andy moles

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Kallistée wasn't on my radar - it definitely is now. Looks amazing.

duncan

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Thanks for reviving this jwi, sounds great. I'm borrowing 52 years and 520 routes and a visit feels very overdue.

Verdon was my introduction to all this kind of thing, I was wildly inexperienced: had done four months of climbing in the Peak to about E1 and nothing longer than 3 pitches. First route was Luna Bong, we got benighted on the last pitch and had to learn to Jumar in the dark. Second route was Arete du Belvedere, we got benighted about three pitches from the top and sat out the night on a ledge (it gets cold in March). Despite, or perhaps because of, this I was totally sold on the style and the place. It was a good lesson in the importance of choosing partners and of climbing efficiently.



 
Luna Bong abseil, 1980 I think.

jwi

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The Luna Bong rappel still feels totally wild, and I have more than four months of climbing under my belt ...

jwi

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Verdon always looks amazing. Tried to go last summer but it was (unsuprisingly?) too warm for us and we ran away to the mountains. Cheers for posting up the pictures!

I keep advising people to go in June, as the sun sets very late and a lot of good sectors are south-east facing and some good sectors are almost east facing. Rap in about 2pm, when most people are topping out. Be at the base at 3pm. Top out 8pm with an hour of twilight to spare. Shade and afternoon thermals help you keeping cool. (As do the occasional evening thunderstorms = the drawback of my strategy, admittedly)

Fultonius

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I'm itching to go to some of these places. The memories of January in Chile are fading.

We went to Aysen, which is on the edge of Patagonia, but more inland and lower, so less affected by the incessant winds. Si and Graham stayed on and went to Cochamo, which sounds like it really ticks the the boxes of this thread. I'm keen to go back to Chile, and visit Cochamo next time. Avellano was so, so wild and beautiful, but I think Patagonian big wall new routing was perhaps a once in a lifetime experience for me.

Trip report here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qLeXRp1VfEGWT4kwCgTSFeXxyyv5shGp/view?usp=sharing

Duma

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That looks amazing fultonius!

Johnny Brown

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Paul B

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I keep advising people to go in June, as the sun sets very late and a lot of good sectors are south-east facing and some good sectors are almost east facing. Rap in about 2pm, when most people are topping out. Be at the base at 3pm. Top out 8pm with an hour of twilight to spare.

We've had some great days using this strategy, notably on Gwendal and Pinchenibule. What I can't work out is when is best for things that get the sun most of the day (La fête des nerfs)? I don't do well climbing in the sun.

Trip report here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qLeXRp1VfEGWT4kwCgTSFeXxyyv5shGp/view?usp=sharing

Amazing photos!

SA Chris

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What I can't work out is when is best for things that get the sun most of the day

The night :)

SA Chris

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And nice one on the S America report Ali, what is MEF?

Fultonius

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Mount Everest Foundation - they threw some cash our way.

Rob did the final publishing effort, and a fine job he did too. Pretty much why we took him along  ;D

SA Chris

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Well if you need some publishing effort done next time look my way ;)

jwi

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I keep advising people to go in June, as the sun sets very late and a lot of good sectors are south-east facing and some good sectors are almost east facing. Rap in about 2pm, when most people are topping out. Be at the base at 3pm. Top out 8pm with an hour of twilight to spare.

We've had some great days using this strategy, notably on Gwendal and Pinchenibule. What I can't work out is when is best for things that get the sun most of the day (La fête des nerfs)? I don't do well climbing in the sun.


For La Fête des Nerfs and Via Mathis an overcast day in spring or in the fall would be the best bet. For a short trip you have to be lucky... We were lucky last spring in May and had two cold overcast days in a week!

...
And cool report Fultonius!

Paul B

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For La Fête des Nerfs and Via Mathis an overcast day in spring or in the fall would be the best bet. For a short trip you have to be lucky... We were lucky last spring in May and had two cold overcast days in a week!

Thanks. We've had similar thoughts with other venues (Aiglun for one) that mean for us they're probably better as part of a longer trip to avoid disappointment.

duncan

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23 best routes in the Verdon as chosen by jwi.  Excellent beta and it’s fun to discover where some of the more arcane route names came from.

 In Swedish but google translate offers an entertaining version for Anglophones (apparently you “celebrate” your way down Luna Bong to the Terrasse Médiane. That’s certainly one way of putting it!). Unfortunately the last section of top tips for Verdon climbing was too much for the poor computer and was a bit harder to follow. I couldn’t quite work out how jwi managed to drop his haulbag...

jwi

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 In Swedish but google translate offers an entertaining version for Anglophones (apparently you “celebrate” your way down Luna Bong to the Terrasse Médiane. That’s certainly one way of putting it!). Unfortunately the last section of top tips for Verdon climbing was too much for the poor computer and was a bit harder to follow. I couldn’t quite work out how jwi managed to drop his haulbag...

My God, google translate english > swedish is really surprisingly bad! (I dropped the haulbag because I was an idiot, is there any other way?)

Since I got help from this forum, I should probably post a short TR on

Sous la griffe de Lucifer, 450m ED-, 6c+>6b+, 14 pitches

Are you in Céüse and bored with hiking for an hour to go and climb the same 15m over and over again? Bring down nine draws, two shoulder length slings and something for belays, drive 50 min from the campground to Dévoluy and climb something completely different. You get a Parois de Legende tick as well!

Unusually sustained and steep face climbing for 13 pitches. No cracks or anything that scratches the back of the hand. In the shade until around 2.30pm.


The wall. Lucifer climbs just to the right of the big dihedral that splits the main wall in two. (There are 3 PdL-ticks on the wall, which is partly explained by the fact that Bodet and Petit used to live 45 min away).

The approach is mercifully short (20 min or so) and easy to find. The route starts at the memorial plaque to Bruno M.


“You who pass by, remember Bruno Martel and his love for The Gillards. To our dad, with eternal love”

The first pitch has some average rock but not many bolts so it pays to be careful. Overall the easier pitches still has some tricky route finding and very few bolts, so they take quite a bit longer than you would think to climb.

Here's J. on the 6th pitch


and near the top of the amazing 11th pitch with the banded silica intrusions that gives plenty of small crimpers. Very cool to climb on!


Overall, we found the climbing very good starting on pitch 4 all the way to the end of the hard part in the middle of pitch 12. Compared to the topo in PdL we found P9 to be the hardest and P11 to be slightly easier (but more demanding mentally perhaps), otherwise we found the grading in PdL to be closer to our opinion than the grades given in the description on camp to camp.

The descent was easy to find (a single footpath from the top of the route all the way down to the small village of Jouves) and makes for a very pleasant hike on alpine prairies.



« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 03:33:40 pm by jwi »

Wood FT

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 In Swedish but google translate offers an entertaining version for Anglophones (apparently you “celebrate” your way down Luna Bong to the Terrasse Médiane. That’s certainly one way of putting it!). Unfortunately the last section of top tips for Verdon climbing was too much for the poor computer and was a bit harder to follow. I couldn’t quite work out how jwi managed to drop his haulbag...

My God, google translate english > swedish is really surprisingly bad! (I dropped the haulbag because I was an idiot, is there any other way?)

Since I got help from this forum, I should probably post a short TR on

Sous la griffe de Lucifer, 450m ED-, 6c+>6b+, 14 pitches

Are you in Céüse and bored with hiking for an hour to go and climb the same 15m over and over again? Bring down nine draws, two shoulder length slings and something for belays, drive 50 min from the campground to Dévoluy and climb something completely different. You get a Parois de Legende tick as well!

Unusually sustained and steep face climbing for 13 pitches. No cracks or anything that scratches the back of the hand. In the shade until around 2.30pm.


The wall. Lucifer climbs just to the right of the big dihedral that splits the main wall in two. (There are 3 PdL-ticks on the wall, which is partly explained by the fact that Bodet and Petit used to live 45 min away).

The approach is mercifully short (20 min or so) and easy to find. The route starts at the memorial plaque to Bruno M.


“You who pass by, remember Bruno Martel and his love for The Gillards. To our dad, with eternal love”

The first pitch has some average rock but not many bolts so it pays to be careful. Overall the easier pitches still has some tricky route finding and very few bolts, so they take quite a bit longer than you would think to climb.

Here's J. on the 6th pitch


and near the top of the amazing 11th pitch with the banded silica intrusions that gives plenty of small crimpers. Very cool to climb on!


Overall, we found the climbing very good starting on pitch 4 all the way to the end of the hard part in the middle of pitch 12. Compared to the topo in PdL we found P9 to be the hardest and P11 to be slightly easier (but more demanding mentally perhaps), otherwise we found the grading in PdL to be closer to our opinion than the grades given in the description on camp to camp.

The descent was easy to find (a single footpath from the top of the route all the way down to the small village of Jouves) and makes for a very pleasant hike on alpine prairies.

Awesome! You had me at no cracks or anything.

petejh

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Great stuff. Keep them coming jwi, inspiration material.

tomtom

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Great stuff. Keep them coming jwi, inspiration material.

👍👍 even to (me) someone who has no intention of tying in... 😃

SA Chris

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Does look ace, maybe a bit rich for my blood. Got me flicking through the Arvre Guide though, and thinking about something a bit friendlier next summer maybe.

MischaHY

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Recently did some moderately competent bimbling in Sardinia seeing as the Alps were soaking.

First up 'Non Potho Reposare' 6c+ 7 pitches. Absolutely feckin' brilliant. Best easy pitches of the trip and every pitch was a gift.

Seriously, it was that good.

Little video from Lando here:


Next up was 'Cuore in Gola' 7c+ 10 pitches. First 3 pitches are the crux through a bigggg roof (7b,7b,7c+) after which it's 7 pitches up to 7a+ to reach the top. We had a look at the roof pitches on our second day (just the two 7b's for me, Lando checked out the 7c+ so I could have a flash go) and then bivvied in the gorge and went for it early doors. Knocked out the first two pitches steadily enough, then fell off the flash go of the 7c+ on the last hard move due to being a f***king loser and getting scared. That went next go (argh  >:( ) so we cracked on with the rest, leaving the haul bag at the top of pitch 5 (7a+). The rest is bolder but steadier and we got to the top in good style to find out that the last pitch just stops in the middle of nowhere 30m below the top of the wall or thereabouts. The wind was blowing a serious hoolie by this point so we started to head down and did some very intense high wind abseiling to get back to the base of the gorge just as it got dark  :beer2:

Another vid of that little escapade here:



And a picture from the Gorge for good measure:

 
Other highlights were 'Legitimo Bastardo' 7c 8 pitches which I managed onsight until we hit rotten belays on the easier upper section. This was a funny one as we were expecting a super bold crux pitch, but it had actually been recently rebolted and was actually quite reasonable, whereas the following 7a+ (b) pitches were pant-fillingly bold with some sections containing hard moves with 6m runouts.




We then followed that up with a team onsight ascent of 'Stella di Sangue' 7b, although I got knackered on the last few pitches and seconded pitifully for the rest.

Onsighting the crux pitch of Stella:


Hardish things aside, we also did a fairly rapid simul ascent of 'Via de L'amicizia' 6b 700m in 6 loooong pitches and about 5hrs total. Absolutely brilliant route, 95% trad with bolted belays and the occasional old peg/bolt. Highly recommended!



All in all it's a fantastic place and I will definitely go back, although it must be said the walk-ins are knackering and rotten bolts are not uncommon. We approached and descended for over 30 hours in the 8 days that we climbed!

jwi

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Les premiers pas d'Elsa, ED, 7a+>6c

After two routes on the Gillardes, my better half had it with the wall. Suffering from a bit of monomania I wanted to do Premier pas d'Elsa as well as it is included in both “Parois de Légende” and Mussato's book “Itinéraires d'un grimpeur gâté”. I knew that HaeMeS was in the area and suspected that he could be convinced; alas, he had already moved on to more proper alps, but luckily he knew a Belgian climber who was in the area and was keen.

The French climbing establishment insist on this slightly quixotic fight against dissemination of information outside of local topos. After having had Rockfax and Tmms Verlag's topos in the cross hairs, their new pet hate seems to be camptocamp.org. As Mistral is for noobs and Rockfax tends to have errors like having the wrong number of pitches on routes or simply drawing routes on a pic of the wrong mountain I never considered using them for information, and never really cared. Camptocamp, on the other hand, is a real gold mine with up-to-date user generated information about routes on the continent, the maghreb and the levant. Specifically I learned from comments that there were four hangers missing along the route, so I went to Approach in Gap and bought 5 hangers the day before climbing.

I met Erik in the morning 7.15AM at the parking, and after spending half a minute on discussing the rack we went off.

The route starts with the same first pitch and a half as Sous la griffe de Lucifer, but then continue straight up with a second pitch that was closer to 6c than 6b. Pretty demanding climbing with some runouts early in the morning as well.


The fourth anchor was the first that missed a hanger, and since the hanger in place had a very small hole with a sling already threaded through it I could not get any of our crabs to fit, so I was quite happy to have a wrench and a hanger in the harness and nuts in the shirt pocket...

The fifth pitch had also a missing hanger, on the crux bit. Luckily Erik had margin and put in in place from a free climbing stance. Luckily it was also quite easy for the grade. One of only two pitches I felt was on the easy side. Most pitches felt quite hard for their given grade...


Erik just about to get out the hardware on pitch 5...

Starting on pitch 5 the climbing got very good as well. Basically everything from pitch 5 to pitch 13 is brilliant. Pretty solid rock as well.


Erik towards the end of the sixth pitch.

The eight (crux) pitch was particularly good, and not as easy as you might think... Overall I think that a good level of endurance is needed for the route. There are no slab pitches and almost everything from pitch 6 and onwards is either vertical or slightly overhanging (this part of the crag was the site of France's biggest rope-jump in 2019) with very few easy sections.

I struggled a lot on the tenth pitch, and close to the belay I was pretty close to falling on the section here:


The eleventh pitch goes through the overhang just above Erik in the pic above. In my experience it is exceedingly rare to climb steeply overhanging rock with 300+ m of pure air beneath the feet at such an amiable grade (7a). Partly explained by the fact that it is not a very long section.

The route finishes with some brilliant but confusing climbing on a band of "pouding" (vernacular for conglomerate).

Overall a brilliant route that is harder to link than a cursory glance at the topo would suggest. Most pitches are very sustained, and the easier parts are quite runout. In my opinion, the global grade of ED is well deserved.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 03:06:47 pm by jwi »

jwi

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« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 03:30:48 pm by jwi »

Yossarian

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Does anyone know anything about the Fleischbank in the Wilder Kaiser? A mate has been reading Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage and apparently Herman Buhl soloed I think the south east route, which included something called the Rossi Overhang.

I found a bit of info here https://www.summitpost.org/fleischbank/293951 and it looks quite hardcore.

This was vaguely prompted because we were discussing a possible return to alpine rock next year, and I had fancied going back to the various things we failed to do as a result of the Bondo landslide in 2017. Sadly it appears that the entire Bondasca valley is still out of bounds, and the Sciora hut is permanently closed. There was a paper about the landslide published earlier this year https://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/20/505/2020/ where you can see the distance the landslide travelled. When we got helicoptered down it blew my mind quite how far down it came - there were truck-sized chunks in Bondo which was way beyond the zone anyone had predicted an event like that would reach.

 

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