Monday, August 06, 2007

Cerces or Perfect Summer Day

Perfect weather forced me to go to the mountains despite the lack of partners. One place i had my eye on for some time - small limestone massif of Cerces, at Lautaret col, in front of Ecrins. Only good things were said by people who had already visited the place, and now i will add to their words. Above is the picture of Tete de la Colombe, a peak we planned but did not actually climb. Some very nice routes there as Bal des Boucas, or harder ones on l'Ecaille.

First objective - Ponant Neuf on Tour Termier, The approach is reasonable, with around 2h if you park at the tunnel, and even less from Col du Galibier (better option we did not take from foolishness). This is the view from the walk-up to warm up the spirit. From the top of the Tour, you can probably see with binoculars people finishing la Traversée de la Meije.

Despite being alone on the approach, we find more than 6 parties under the wall - 2 go off for Feu Sacrée, the rest waits for Ponant Neuf. Apparently this is a well-known classic...We opt for its neighbour, and start up la Terre-Minée , a little bit harder, but also bolted. This is my newly-found partner Gwen on easier P3.

Several pitches are very nice - the second (crux) 6b, fourth 6a, and the rest to the top, with incredible last pitch traversing under the final roof (the same as a variant for Ponant Neuf). Overall good rock, but Gwen manages to dislodge a big rock just a meter off route and send it flying down to add adrenaline to the couple of parties climbing below us. Crowded mountains = dangerous mountains...It all finishes well and we descend on foot taking in the beaty of the place.

On the second day, due to the lack of time, we go to Contreforts de la Roche Robert to try Helene et les Garçons. With our luck, already 2 parties are at its start, so we switch again to the route on its left, a little bit harder, first half less memorable, but very nice two last pitces at 6b and perferct limestone.

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