Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Verdon 2.0

Antti topping out on Demon, just before the rain

Fredrik topping out on Rivieres d'Argent, in the sun

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Frank Herbert, "Dune"

Pictures by Jonas

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.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Old projects, new projects

So it goes, up and down, the climbing life.  Old projects get done, new ones appear.  Grades change - or don't.  Scenery varies - or does not.  People are the important ones, or maybe not.  Moves are the important ones, or maybe not.  Rope up, rope down.  Get the backpack and go.

Today Montserrat treated me with sympathy, an old chapter of the book got completed - I finally did Iaio-Iaio, a nemesis of mine from some time past.  I remember first trying it out with Pau and not being able to do the move at the first draw.  I remember falling off the crux on some other random day, in some other random company.  Fortunately, times have changed.

Here and there, bumble-beeing around.  Spent a day in Motgrony, where another old project, Angie, did not get sent - but was tried presumptuously by many and all.

Sunset in Montgrony

Another day was spent in Margalef, where I even forgot how to get to Espadellas, given how often I visit the crag these days.  Not convinced with the new extension of the infinite band of rock that is Espadellas, I follow Jonas on this one, and much prefer its neighbor on the other side of the mountain, the picturesque and breathtaking Siurana.

Margalef, Sunset
Sunset in Margalef

No project has been sent in Siurana - yet.  Time will come, time always comes.  Time changes, time flows, time is.  On the road, bumble-beeing to be continued.

Siurana de Prades and the moon landscape oriented
Sunset in Siurana

All pictures by Jonas.