lunes, 31 de agosto de 2015

Loving life at Verdon Gorges!

We loved a lot traveling in Verdon last spring.
La Palud is the place to be when it´s not too hot. The equivalent french of Yosemite, an emblematic place where the climbing stories are a resume of the french history of rock climbing. 

We have learned a lot about the climbing legends from there. And also we have heard some fun stories from them like when Francois Guillot and Joel Coqueugnot opened in 1968 "la Demande" the first route at Verdon Gorges and It was the opportunity that Francois had to ask the hand of Joel's daughter in marriage.. and it's because the called the route ¨la demande¨. They had no fear. Those guys climbed this wide crack with only a few slings to catch the Cades (an old kind of Guniper hocked in the walls) and a pair of pitons. I have to mention also names like Stephane Troussier or Jacques Perrier who were involved of this amazing time for the climbing history in Verdon.

The 80th were made by Patrick Edlinger, this charismatic blond climber choose la Palud to live and train, he made rock climbing a modern and popular sport, and even more a way to live!! Paul Janssen made two really nice films with him in Verdon gorges ("La vie au bout des doigts" and "Opéra Vertical" in 82 and 83).

In the 90 the l'UCPA (a kind of french YMCA) established a camp in la palud. This holidays place is organizing sport camp, and allowed lots of modest climbers to discover the gorges, so far only the elite could climb there! The director Michel Suhubiette a mountain guides bolted lots of routes in level 5+, 6 and 7. They are doing a really good job over there.
We climbed "Les marche du temps" a very aery and technical vertical slab graded 7a.

Actually there are a lot of new sport climbing areas thanks to Graou (Bruno Clément). He is a tireless climber/bolter. He opened an endless list of sublime lines like Tom et Jerry, 8b+ (5.14a) wich I had the chance to climb last year. This 60 meter tuffa is probably the most beautiful line I'd ever climbed. 
Beautiful photo by my friend Jan Novak 
This year I discovered "Hulkosaure" one unique line bolted also by Graou. It's one simple and spectacular 5.14a/25 mtrs tuffa where it's impossible to remember any secuences, you just have to climb one big hold to the top! what a fight! I was really happy to be able to climb this amazing line situated in the Hulk Cave. 

We also climbed some multipitch like Alix punk du Verdon in Paroi du Duc. This 300 meters steep route offers 10 stunning pitches of athletic climbing, comfortable belay always and good holdes up to 7b+. It was very nice experience to climb this beautiful and sustained route also recommended by Arnaud Petit's guide book. 

It's great to see how this place is respected  by thousands of visitors and it keeps clean after so many years. Good example to follow! 

Beside climbing we enjoyed also the first bath after the winter in the beautiful Lac de Sainte Croix, promenades, ice cream, and of course some shopping in Moustier.  We love this magical place!! 
Thanks to my perfect climber partner Pierre Muller for this amazing trip. And to my good friends Phil Bence and Jan Novak for the beautiful photos!!

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