Verdon

Posted on 15.05.15


It was always one of my goals to climb in the southern part of France in the „Gorges du Verdon“. But somehow i never managed to visit this place. This time after Melloblocco we were sure to extend our trip and drive directly from the Melloblocco event to Verdon. After 7 hours of driving we arrived in this dream place. Jacopo was there a few times before and he showed me some cool lines which you could see from the street. The whole gorge full of best quality limestone, this looked so impressive to me and for sure to all other climbers who have been there before. We arrived quite late at this days afternoon, feeling lucky to have a great weather forecast and warm temperatures for the next days, after the bad weather we had in „Val Masino“.

We put up our tent at the nice campside, short before the small typical french village „la palud“. Were we got our first delicious „pain au chocolat aux amondes“ the next days morning before we started to search the classic four pitch route „take it or leave it“. We had a cool first day in this great line. Jacopo managed to redpoint the route and i followed. For me the cruxpitch was quite hard, i didn’t find a solution for the jump move. But anyway it was fun to climb in this legendary route.

From the first day on I had the route „tom et je ris“ in my mind. One of the most popular great looking tufas in the world. This line is on the east side of the canyon and there is a long 1,5 hour approach to reach the anker which is super hard to find. Jacopo climbed „tom et je ris“ two years ago when he was in the Gorge together with Siebe Venhee. But even for him it was still hard to find the anker again. We started at midday, so once we found the anker it was half past two in the afternoon and the sun was arriving. We abseiled down the amazing 60m tufa line into open space. Due to the steep wall we had to do an airy rappel down to where the route starts. Rapelling down the beautiful line, seeing the two incredible tufas and the nice quite long runoutes, i was so psyched to start climbing. There was no warming up around, so i started to climb from bolt to bolt for warming up and checking out the line. After I got back to the belay to take a rest, it felt very hot and it was quite exhausting to rest there for longer. For Jacopo it was even worse, he was hanging there with no possibility to get some shade. So i started my first try, climbing from one tufa to the next with some little cruxes at the start and at the end. It was a pumpy journey and i was so happy to manage to do this one, but at the same time i was so overheated that i felt happy that it was done. To reach the top without falling on my first try in this stunning place, that was a really great climbing day!!

The next day we started a long car driving challenge around the whole Gorge to reach the steep wall of „La Ramirole“. When we stood in front of the wall it was quite late and we decided to do a short multipitch, which was called „papy que devers“. The route followed a sustained steep gully. But we didn’t know that the gully was full of dirt and bird-do. So we crawled the whole way up in the wet dirt and we were finally happy to reach the top after some aid climbing.

Normally the Verdon is wellknown for the technical climbing style on vertical walls with small finger pockets, this was what i thought. But „La Ramirole“ was the completely opposite. Climbing on steep terrain, on big tufa holds. Impressed by this steep wall, we wanted to come back to try the same called classic route „La Ramirole. After Jacopos missed onsight try, we figured out the single pitches and the day after Jacopo climbed all five pitches redpoint. It was exciting to watch him squeezing the last tufa like hell, when my belay rope got stocked in the little belay tree and he couldn’t get more rope to clip the bolt. I felt super bad about it, but luckily this short error went out with enough slack rope in the last moment. While Jacopo was crushing every single pitch, it felt hard to me to follow in this steep terrain. This fact destroyed a bit my optimism for my upcomming redpoint attempt.

After a relaxed day on the lake paddeling into the small gorges to see the cave of Galettas and hanging out on the lake, going for a „mothers day“ shopping break and having dinner at a small rustic restaurant at the place challed Aiguines, I finally felt recovered.

At the last day of our eight days vacation in Verdon, i felt much better then the last day in the route and this trip could not have ended better than sending „La Ramirole“. We had a great time there discovering some walls around this beautiful „Gorges du Verdon“. And i am psyched to come back soon 🙂

 

“La Ramirole” 5 pitches:  8a+,8a, 8b, 8a+, 7a
“tom et je ris” 8b+

 

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