Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy and unhappy Callanques

Another w-end, November 11 and 12, i was to see my old friend Alex. He was around on holiday and stopped by to climb. As weather reports sucked more or less everywhere, i decided to go south all the way, and took friday off work too to climb at one of my favorite climbing spots in europe - Callanques.

The first day went great - wonderful weather, good climbing, no people. To start we went to Canceou - since my first experience last year, i knew to start slowly and not challenge yourself too much. We did a route called l'Aube, with a very nice traversy approach (usual callanques style) and finished the route with the hardest pitch being 6b+, but i struggled most at this last 5c+, polished classic crack - see pic below. We even had enough time to do a couple sport routes in Port Morgiou afterwards and have a good meal in Cassis.

Saturday, next day, i wanted it all - the plan was to do "Pour la mémoire de nos enfants'', a route Renaud did before. He recommended it to me strongly. It is in Devençon, the furthest cirque from the road. Knowing Callanques and its approaches enough, we started the walk-in at 5 am, and were rapelling into Devençon as the sun was rising. The route started with awesome sea traverse, 5c, then 6b - see pic. Afterwards a chimney, overhang, slab, and roof completed the game to make it very varied and interesting.

However, as evening was approaching and we had 3 more pitches to go, I started up this 6a+. At the third bolt, standing on a ledge, i was 20cm too short to clip it. I looked around, i thought about it (probably not enough) and then tried the move to get to the bolt. I fell. It was an unfortunate fall, with ledges and all, probably not more than 5-10 meters overall, but i smacked my left foot into the wall, it started bleeding profusely. I couldn't use the foot anymore thinking it was probably broken. We thought about options with my partner, and tried to get to the top anyway, with him leading the remaining pitches, belaying me on one rope and fixing the other to help me get up one-footed. We managed to get to the top in pitch-darkness.

Nevertheless our problems started there, as to do the 2h walk back the up and down terrain of the Callanque was much harder then going up vertical terrain w/o a foot. I crawled, jumped, and walked covering maybe 200m in 15 minutes...we were screwed. We called the rescue team and started waiting on the trail, with wind howling and darkness getting darker. After a couple of hours, about 10 or more young fit and good-looking men appeared and carried me down. As exciting an experience as climbing is. Anyway, after a couple of hours in Marseille hospital i was put into plaster and sent home - with apparently a very bed sprain in my ankle, several weeks in plaster and several more for rehabilitation...

That's my price to pay for this year and my dreaming and daring. I do now. Viva next year...

1 comment:

Michel said...

There have to be easier ways to get good-looking men to pick you up.