There are still stars in my eyes thinking back to that fall day. The kind of day that Haute-Savoie sometimes offers us in October, you just have to know how to seize it. Last year I took the opportunity to spend a beautiful day at altitude in Digital Crack. This year, the Fiz are dry and still taunt me with its high walls. 3 years that I want to visit the wall of Anterne, since I live at the foot.
Knowing how to seize one's chance but also knowing how to provoke it: “Would you be crazy enough to come from Nice to put you on a mission at the wall of Anterne during the week? ". I hit the right door in terms of madness and the desire to climb, Alex is motivated for Eyes in the Blue!
I still feel apprehension and excitement during the preparation, synonymous for me with an important and audacious day. Apprehension because in October, the Wills refuge is closed. It's either the winter refuge, synonymous with extra weight, or a big car-car day with a long approach to add to the climb. Need I remind you that walking is far from being my strong point or what I prefer…. ?
|L1 7b+ with a ray of sunshine|
After consultation, we still opt for the second option, choosing the comfort of a good night in the truck to the detriment of my little legs. But sometimes the urge is stronger. Despite the departure at 5am from the car park and the 3 hour approach, I don't see the time passing too much and for once I don't suffer from the walk! #unbelievable
|End of L2 6c|
Alex starts in the first length which is already a good start when cold. I continue and as often when the rating is easier, the points disappear. The choice between an open and grassy crack and a compact slab and, it must be said, a little slippery, but leading directly to the next point, is difficult. Surprisingly, I opt for the crack and find myself embarking on a tricky traverse/descent towards said point… Gloups! It starts strong!
|L3 7c in full sheath so as not to turn|
We thus continue in reversible in these gray slabs covered with a layer of je-ne-sais-quoi which makes adhesions precarious in terms of sensations. No zipette to deplore for me but the feeling requires additional sheathing, just in case... The rock, in this lower part, has decided to form vertically and sloping: not a single clear grip on the horizon and a sequence of imbalance to the right. It's a bit like the sockets are the hinges of a door and the door, your body. Constantly !!
|Reading galore for L5 in 7c/+|
Added to these technical difficulties is reading, which is not easy. Obviously, there isn't a trace, but that's also why we're here… Reading is complex because the route is constantly crossing. Not a single length goes straight. It is then necessary to choose between passing above the point or below. The apotheosis takes place in the 5th pitch in 7c/+ where Alex decides from above. He wanders maybe 5 min going up and down, without finding the key, to finally engage and break a micro thumb balance grip. Fall in trav' and doubt interferes in me our chances of success because I tell myself that if it does not pass, I have no chance either. Finally, the passage down was easier and more logical and I am surprised, with the marked holds, to chain the entire twisted section and the end of the length, avoiding at the same time, an unpleasant pendulum! It's amazing how the difficulty is changed when the decryption and the indication of the prehensions are already done. What is more in these styles with supreme wandering where the slightest asperity can save a passage or compromise it if it wishes to remain anonymous.
|End of L6 7b with a beautiful landscape|
With all that, we're not moving very fast and we're beginning to doubt our way out before dark if we don't speed up a bit. Knowing that retirement is difficult with the schist base, this new feeling of doubt and uncertainty adds a little pressure to the company.
Fortunately, we reach the end of the gray part and a steeper part on yellow plastered rock is offered to us. The style changes radically. The grips are more straightforward and the reading much easier. As a result, we are much faster! Phew!
|Beginning of the L7 7b trav|
Then comes a somewhat dreaded pitch, the 7th pitch crossing in 7b. 15 meters crossing for an unfortunate 4 meters of altitude gained! Not very profitable this story! First or second, the penalty is the same. It's Alex's turn to take the lead. In the game of descents the reading remains laborious and despite the experience, it undergoes the reversible which imposes to chain two lengths in a row. In one flight, back to the relay! Now that the flight is demystified and the crux more or less spotted, he sets off again and continues the length. However, I don't necessarily want to test the lead second… I tighten the grips more than ever and leave a lot of strength in the case but arrive without adrenaline at the next relay.
|Blocking at the hip so as not to fall into L7!|
|End of L7|
This time, it's my turn to undergo the reversible! I leave in the next length, cooked before even starting. On fire, a pitch in 7a+ assumed to be engaged. I then discover unknown sensations and which I would have done without. I no longer control my body: tremors, extreme daubing in less than two movements and the more I concentrate on tightening the grips, the more my fingers open...
I'm already struggling in point to point before arriving at the length crux. At this point, the next point is located 4-5 meters higher and 4-5 meters to the right. In addition, it is indicated in the topo to get there from the right where a rescue bin is there to clip it. I make a first try by pulling straight towards the point which allows me to spot a few catches and I seem to guess the famous ferry still 2 meters higher. Mandatory U-turn minus one before the fall, no longer controlling my hold. The next try will be “a muerte”!
I optimize the first meters spotted, engage in a random movement, visually revalidate the hold considered to be a saving tank and prepare to send it. As a left hand, I've found nothing better than a teardrop cup that I arch in mono. Considering the low stiffness of the wall, I would usually have held this grip very well. But the more I concentrate to arch it a little harder and transmit it to my biceps, the more I feel that it escapes me. It is not necessary to delay a second more and I rush on the anticipated decision. “Aaaaaaah!! ". No sooner has the socket been touched than this sound comes out of my mouth. The one I spotted is actually a decoy and I'm going to fall, I'm already falling. My body and my heart have understood it! This fall that I wanted to avoid and that I thought I could dominate with mentality and speed is going to get me!
But a burst of lucidity and certainly an instinct for survival do not accept this failure and take over. My right arm moves at lightning speed and my fingers rush to the actual bin that I haven't even had time to consciously spot...
This stops my barely started fall and all this surplus of emotions leads me to burst out laughing before even putting on the quickdraw and securing myself. I am overjoyed at the idea of having managed to avoid an unpleasant moment and the shivers that so many emotions give me remind me that it is for these sensations that I climb!
|End of L8 7a+, the gas is felt|
The end of the length is laborious given the state of freshness and a break is necessary for me so I propose to leave the hand for the next two lengths so as not to have to chain them in a row and instead feast! A sandwich later, the energy is back and I go on the 11th and last hard length in 7a, rather bouldering, reading and decision-making!
|Beginning of L9 7c|
|End of L9|
We only have the summit part left, which strangely resembles the schist base. The two friends we took (0.75 and 1) prove essential for the last two lengths (as for most other lengths by the way to mitigate the commitment) and Alex finds himself pulling a length of 60m while traversing to reach the plateau. A bit of mountaineering resurfaced to remind me that the wall of Anterne is not an innocuous face and that the race is more than complete and drastically moves away from a basic limestone main route.
|End of L10 7b|
|End of L11 7a|
The arrival at the summit, in the grassy and sunny slopes of the mountain pastures, contrasts with the austerity of the wall and the day of effort that we have just experienced in the shadow of the face. The crossing of the last block which gives access to welcoming pastures marks the symbolic border between the vertical and pedestrian world. Tension, doubts and pressure can finally fall and give way to relaxation. It is 5 p.m. and we take advantage of a few minutes to savor this timeless moment in front of the panorama of the chain with a mountain geography lesson on the way. Then it's time to leave… We still have 3 hours to walk through the Sales chalets to find the truck.
|A panorama worth the trip|
This route had been my dream for more than 3 years and I am happy to have been patient but persevering enough to wait for the opportune moment and appreciate this day in its entirety, at its fair value and in the best conditions. Another beautiful moment of climbing and sharing close to the house!