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Fairly Long, Moderately Hard and Mostly Free (Read 171595 times)

Duma

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Looks incredible, nice one jwi!

Johnny Brown

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Wowsers, one for the bucket list! Perfect length and looks spectacular.

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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.

I've been lucky enough to have done a lot of this. It is surprising how much less pressure you feel when it won't be you required to pull the team out of the shit, so it's great until you end up getting dragged up stuff barely seconding with rests etc (but gives you probably useful perspective if you've ever done this to anyone). Thinking back to my most satisfying moments in terms of partnerships, they fall into three groups - 1) moving well as a team and completing route well under guidebook team (partner competence regardless), 2) being supposedly well-matched but ending up having to dragging the team out of the shit, 3) being interrogated on the belay by my much better partner about what secret aid I used on the pitch they just barely seconded. So variety is best I think.

duncan

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Great stuff. This has been on the list for some time! Sounds like the quintessential two big Gogarth routes day.

What is the Ordesa season, sounds like it might be a bit hot in the height of summer?

I am the older and weaker of the party 95% of the time but try to pull my weight by getting the team to the start and back down with a minimum of fuss and hunger (p2), not freezing in the headlights, and taking care of the jamming cracks.

Also, it's good to know I can now add my signed copy of Parois de Legend to the retirement fund (with the mint first pressing of Definitely Maybe, numerous rare dub 10"s...).

jwi

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What is the Ordesa season, sounds like it might be a bit hot in the height of summer?

I suspect it is a bit warm for challenging climbing in Ordesa in July and August, but routes like the linkup between Brujes and the Franco-Espagnole should be fine: just bring enough water. The parking is closed during peak season (eastern holiday, and July to mid September) and you have to take the shuttle bus from Torla (check this on the internet ahead of time). In spring the walls see quite a bit of meltwater runoff, more after wet winters of course.

petejh

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Nice one jwi! Very jealous! I've always wanted to climb in Ordesa ever since walking down that canyon as part of the GR11 trail sometime around 2001. Picked up the guidebook from a shop in San Sebastian around 8 years ago, such a lovingly put-together book:




jwi

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Christian Ravier's topos are such beautiful pieces of art. As J. has expressed outright hostility to climbing in Ordesa I never bought the topo, but we have his topo for Gorges du Taghia with equally beautiful drawings. I find it interesting to note that we most definitely did not climb pitch 7 as described by Ravier and Thivel.

On this note, Remi Thivel's site is an absolute treasure trove of topos for climbing in the Pyrenees.
South side: https://www.remi-thivel.com/toposmontagnepyreneessud.html

jwi

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It has been ridiculously warm in the South-West this summer, and on Friday the forecast was for 40 degrees or warmer. I headed to the High Pyrenees where it was still supposed to be close to 30 at 2000m, but that is still a lot cooler. I have never done the much storied ‘Spigolo’ on Petit Aiguille d'Ansabère, but my wife has. No matter, my mate Alex was up for it, and as he has no AC in his apartment he was up for leaving the night before and sleeping in the hut near the climb.

Spigolo is an ultraclassic, but I feel that it would be better to approach it as a 7a/A0 than to try to free it in warm conditions. There are some other interesting routes on the same formation, including two basque 8as, but also some easier stuff. My guess is that the easier stuff is very alpine and that the basque routes are very hard.

I am a little bit ambivalent about the route, but as it is in Ravier's select guidebook for the Pyrenees, in the Parois de Legende and is a famous historical route it might squeeze in here. No glacier, but we had to navigate some snow due to a pretty serious route-finding mistake on the descent.

Full write up: https://steepground.blogspot.com/2022/06/spigolo-petit-aiguille-dansabere.html

jwi

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The new Petit et al. route, Voyage au Buristan, on Pic de Bure looks like a great challenge for the ambitious team! Pic de Bure is the most impressive wall you spy from the motorway when driving towards Céüse from the direction of Aix en Provence, and is usually climbed via the ultra classic Desmaison route.

The route was first free climbed by Fredrica Mignolla, all onsight except the first 8a pitch, with support from Aymeric Clouet.



MischaHY

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Kaffee und Kuchen 7+ on Traunstein. Incredible longline weaving amongst the massive westwand with startlingly good rock quality. Full write up here (1229 words).

Here's an excerpt:

Upon inspection, the cracks are flared. What seemed like a web of tight fissures from two pitches below morphed into distressingly rounded seams as we approached, taunting our acidic forearms. I gloomily pondered the prospect of the crux, half-closed fingers gently teasing slack as Maya battled through steep terrain below. The previous pitch had been hard enough, and it was two grades easier than the next. As if to confirm my thoughts, Maya explodes away from the overhang with a shriek of fear, nine hundred metres of exposure swinging beneath her feet. Undeterred, she threads prussiks and swiftly ascends to vertical terrain and better holds, and my secret relief. Hauling a hanging partner is exhausting.

Maya arrives at the belay, red-faced and grinning. “Hey, I was so scared!” She glances back down, and shivers. “The rope felt like it would cut in that sideways swing.”

We both share a moment of thankfulness for the wonders of nylon sheaths. Vaporous cloud spirals below our feet, weaving easily between the colossal arena we’ve spent the last nine hours breaching. At this height, peering downwards offers little perspective. Somewhere around three hundred metres, scale is lost. Only looking outwards tells the true tale, across the Traunsee into the mountains beyond. We’re higher than them now, their peaks surrendered unwillingly to a slow, grinding onslaught. Our species excelled through persistence predation, following prey for hours at a time before fatigue won out. The world turns, but these great beasts fall to the same sword. Pitch by pitch, we wear them down, trusting that our endurance will win out. I glance up again at the awaiting seams. Sometimes it’s hard to trust.

Alpine fatigue starts the night before. The brain is a fickle customer, resting best when rest is barely required. In the shadow of the mountain, sleep is too lofty a goal. I content myself with waiting, gazing passively upwards at the tongue-and-groove ceiling and listening to the nighttime song of the crickets. They revel in their sleeplessness, chirping merrily in the treacle-thick night. Maya stirs slightly, and I wonder if she is also contemplating the pine panels. The mountain waits silently. It’s a heavy silence, laying lead-like across my chest as I count the seconds to dawn.



webbo

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The link doesn’t work for me.

remus

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webbo

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Thanks. That works, good read as well

Duma

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That was excellent, thanks Mischa!

jwi

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nice! long route!

MischaHY

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Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed it. I feel happy with the piece of writing as it feels very 'tight' to read. I've been playing around with the best ways to write about the process of climbing without getting technical and boring - hopefully that paid off in this. 

As for the route, it's absolutely stunning. A proper mission day with many utterly brilliant pitches and perfect protection. I'd recommend it to anyone. My first tick from the Longlines guidebook!

Fultonius

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 :'( :o :o :o  Sorry for anyone who had Sunshine Crack or (unlikely) the Tom Egan Memorial Route on Snowpatch Spire on your bucket list...they found the bucket first.

https://gripped.com/news/massive-snowpatch-spire-rockfall-famous-climbs-destroyed/


jwi

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I did another handful routes in Verdon on a short trip this spring and added two of them, Golem and Le vent souffle où il veut to my list of routes worth doing in the Verdon. I am now listing thirty routes worth doing.

https://steepground.blogspot.com/2020/09/twenty-five-routes-worth-doing-in.html

Le vent... :



When I get the time to write some stuff again I will add some more routes from Gorge de Taghia to the thread. They are all worth doing. Amazing place.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2023, 04:12:04 pm by jwi »

duncan

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Thanks jwi. The most snobbish climber I know really rates Taghia and your posts on other social media made it look amazing. I will look forward to the trip report.

Do include options for punters. I mentally crossed it off the list after dislocating my shoulder but, 5 years on, it seems to be stable and I feel more comfortable about going a bit off piste again.

jwi

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The most snobbish climber I know really rates Taghia...

Arnaud Petit? :D

I suspect Taghia is best from 6b obligatory and up. But anyone who can pull this can have two amazing weeks in the Yosemite of the High Atlas. Funny that what might well be the best mountain limestone climbing in Europe is in Africa. Somewhere where Italians, Iberians and French can all agree that the climbing is of utmost quality, and worth a trip!

Wood FT

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I did another handful routes in Verdon on a short trip this spring and added two of them, Golem and Le vent souffle où il veut to my list of routes worth doing in the Verdon. I am now listing thirty routes worth doing.

https://steepground.blogspot.com/2020/09/twenty-five-routes-worth-doing-in.html

Le vent... :



When I get the time to write some stuff again I will add some more routes from Gorge de Taghia to the thread. They are all worth doing. Amazing place.

Thanks for this JWI, Really inspiring for me in my hiatus from rock climbing.

Re: Taghia - is a one week trip too short a time to have a decent time with travel etc?

jwi

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Re: Taghia - is a one week trip too short a time to have a decent time with travel etc?

Me and oh had ten days, our friends eight (saturday to saturday). They were satisfied despite not having stellar weather.

Fly in to Marrakesh as early as possible, take a taxi (5 hours) from the airport most of the way, and hike in (using donkeys for luggage) or take a 4x4 taxi the last few km. My friend managed to get all the way from Stockholm to Taghia in a day, with a stop over in Vienna. I imagine it is quicker from metropolitan areas in the UK?

One day travel, five days climbing, half a day travel to Marrakesh – a night in a hotel, and back again to Europe.

This should give you an idea of the climate down in the village (1900 masl):
https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/historyclimate/climatemodelled/31.788N-6.074E1861_Africa%2FCasablanca
Bear in mind that it will be colder up on the routes (top out at 2900 m max).

jwi

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OK. Preparing the lectures was boring, and it is too warm to go climbing today (already!) so I put together a blog post on Gorges de Taghia.

The two world-heritage routes we did this time around were Les Rivieres Poupres and Baraka. The first is universally adored by all repeaters. For the second (Baraka) I've seen some complaints on both ukclimbing and camptocamp that it should be shorter and that pitch 7 to 16 don't add much interest. I thought it was absolutely brilliant, but I love cruising easy terrain in the mountains. (Those who don't should do one of the many great routes on Parois de Sources instead.)

Anyway, unnecessary long write-up on my blog

https://steepground.blogspot.com/2023/05/gorge-de-taghia-revisited.html

jwi

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My other half told me that my blogposts are on the dry and factual side. I rarely care for other peoples' experiences on routes, I just want to know the basics.

geoffg

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What is the best season for taghia? And does it offer lots of variety in terms of climbing in the sun and out of the sun?

jwi

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What is the best season for taghia? And does it offer lots of variety in terms of climbing in the sun and out of the sun?

April-mid June, September - October. Walls facing all directions. Maybe not so many routes on the purely south-facing walls. The winter in Taghia is a bit grim, I suspect. Camp to camp is good for checking orientation of routes, e.g. https://www.camptocamp.org/routes/367547/fr/taoujdad-les-rivieres-pourpres show that the route is on a purely north facing wall, and if you look at the list of the routes on a mountain, e.g. Taoujdad here https://www.camptocamp.org/waypoints/43127/fr/taoujdad you see the orientation of the routes. The drawback is that only a  quarter of the routes are listed, and few of the very hardest routes.

 

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