Sunday, March 24, 2013

Verdon, the forgotten jewel

Rainy view of the canyon from Rive Gauche

And so we went, leaving Spain and work behind, looking for adventure.  In search for the air beneath our feet, the goal was one of the most famous climbing destinations where both of us have not yet been - the Verdon.  The green canyon lived up to all the expectations, very quickly for that matter.

Lost on the face, 6b+ pitch on les Rideaux de Gwendal, belay at the intersection with Pichenibule 

A gorgeous mix between Grand Canyon in the US and Presles in France, with immaculate limestone all the way, we were awed, impressed, and filled with respect for these slightly overhanging walls falling downwards into the abyss, signified by the green streak of the river rushing on its way.

Jonas on the 6a+ in the middle of Rideaux de Gwendal

The quality of rock is incredible for such a big wall - infinite amounts of perfect grey-bluish limestone, intermingling with parches of good old yellow stone.  The climbing is very varied and interesting, including limestone cracks, tufas, death slabs, goutes d'eau, roofs and bellies.  The bolts are, indeed, far apart, although many pitches are also well-bolted and not overly scary.

Following the traverse 6c pitch on Pichinibule

Some others are scary and completely sandbagged, such as the above polished 6c traverse on Pichinibule, or even worse, the next link-up we did with Ctuluh, a route inspiring fear and respect for real on its probably one of the world-hardest 6c+.

Adventures to be continued while we wait and work through the rain.

To you, Patrick, and your impressive home turf...:

Así es mi vida,
como tú. Como tú,
piedra pequeña;
como tú,
piedra ligera;
como tú,
canto que ruedas
por las calzadas
y por las veredas;
como tú,
guijarro humilde de las carreteras;
como tú,
que en días de tormenta
te hundes
en el cieno de la tierra
y luego
bajo los cascos
y bajo las ruedas;
como tú, que no has servido
para ser ni piedra
de una lonja,
ni piedra de una audiencia,
ni piedra de un palacio,
ni piedra de una iglesia;
como tú,
piedra aventurera;
como tú,
que tal vez estás hecha
sólo para una honda,
piedra pequeña

León Felipe, Versos y oraciones de caminante (1920-1929)

 Bridge over the canyon, Rive Gauche

View on the first pull-out and the impressive Paroi du Duc in the rain

Most pictures by Jonas.

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