After a few days of rinds in the South of France, particularly in Roquevaire, we are heading with Max to the Verdon to start the multi-pitch season at the beginning of April!
|Crushing crusts in Roquevaire! Photo: Fred Ripert|
Our objective is a classic of the Gorges: the curtains of Gwendal, 250 m, 7b max.
The first pitches are pleasant then we arrive at the famous 7b pitch which turns out not to be very pretty: polished, bouldering and slippery... the slippery sauerkraut, frankly unpleasant! I work to pass and arrive at the relay rather disappointed with this length.
Fortunately, the length in 6c on orange rock and huge holes gives me some comfort. How beautiful it is ! It unfolds, there is atmosphere, everything I like. Arrived at R5, I take pictures of Max who joins me, misses the pocket of my jacket and… drops my phone for 150 m of gliding flight! We watch it drift and I spot where it falls, hoping to be able to find it after the route...
It's funny to notice how a small error, here unimportant, can affect the mind. This fall suddenly highlights gravity and our aerial environment. By dint of automatisms, we are no longer used to realizing the potential risk that surrounds us and with this reminder, I find myself checking my manipulations much more, hesitating a little and feeling a slight discomfort with this now almost tactile and omnipresent void...
Finally it is enough to refocus on the climb and I forget all these hassles. The following length is certainly the most beautiful of the whole route: an ultra aerial pillar on ceusian holes. For once we feel the gas and despite my concentration, I remain a little distracted by this small ball at the bottom of my stomach. No more errors...
I continue in the length in 6c+ slab which has really undergone the passages. The gray limestone, usually so adherent, has turned yellow and slips like ice. It adds a bit of spice to the sections but for technical climbing on the feet, it's not always pleasant!
|Last photo of the phone before the big theft|
The last two lengths take place on beautiful rock. The sections, which are less compulsory, are also much less worn and we arrive at the belvedere after the last overhang which may surprise you for a length in 5!
Overall, I was a little disappointed by the hard length which was not very pretty and by the wear of the rock in places. I certainly expected too much for this reputedly incredible route… It's the price of success but I can't help but regret climbing it 15 years too late. On the same wall, for example, I had much preferred "Pichenibule" where all the lengths are splendid and which, in my memories at least, were less worn.
|One of the first lengths|
To end our day, we went in search of the flying phone by the Martel trail! How beautiful it is to discover the faces that I do not yet know:
After a bit of rocking to get to the foot of the track, I head straight for the tree that I had spotted from the top and into which the phone seemed to have fallen. Luckily, I find it at the foot, protective shell on one side and phone on the other, still on, screen dislocated but glass intact. After 150 m of fall, we weren't giving much of our skin!
We have to believe that this time, luck was on our side to give us a good lesson without any consequences...