Tuesday, 24 April 2012

First 8b, in the amazing Gorge du Loup

Went to the South of France  – the Alpes-Maritimes inland from Nice – with Ben and a crew from the Westway. My last proper sport trips were a year ago, when I did my first 8a redpoints. Got on the team since and been focused on that, and now I really wanted to see if I could make progress on rock. Very excited, but I had been ill for a month so I planned a slow start to see how I was.

So we went to Mesa Verde in the Gorge du Loup thinking I’d have a try at the three-star 8a classic in the Gorge, Arrowhead. After a few easy routes to get into it, I worked all the moves then had a couple of close redpoint goes, but it got dark though I was psyched to come back.

Across the Gorge is Déversé – hardest crag in the area with at least three 9as. We went there next day. I wanted to try Déversé Satanique, a three-star 8a+. I worked out all the moves and after a few redpoints I came painfully close to getting it but a broken hold didn’t help.

The next day was a planned easy day. I got psyched for another try and headed back in the evening. I worked the moves to see if the broken hold would affect my sequence. It was getting dark and wet, so my last go ended when I slipped off a wet hold at the top. After a rest day, I went back and got it first attempt of the day, first 8a+.

Next target was an 8b, SatanX, that starts up the amazing steep line of Déversé Satanique and breaks out onto the blank headwall of an 8c, Hot Chili X. After working the moves comfortably, I knew it was on. Had two redpoints that day, getting to the last draw, where I pumped out clipping a desperate clip.

Returned the next day, decided to miss that clip, and sent the route. First 8b. Then went for my first 7c onsight and got it, Mecanik Destructif. Then went back and did Arrowhead to finish off.

So the tick list was:

Satan X, 8b
Déversé Satanique, 8a+
Arrowhead, 8a
Petit Poucet, 7c+
Mecanik Destructif, 7c onsight
Same Player, Shoot Again, 7c

Thanks to Ben and Peter and everyone else on the trip.

Two pics of the 8b

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