Aug 25, 2015

Les Gillardes - Dévoluy

Les Gillardes - Dévoluy
The opening of the routes on this spectacular steep face is something to take the hat off for.
Just to find the possible lines up this slightly overhanging fearsome rock face shows that monsieur Bruno´s Martel and Béatrix has a good feeling and a talent of putting up nice lines.

Les Gillardes - Face North West. Left arrow is "Fort F ainéants, right is Sous la Griffe de Lucifer"

Apparently it took some 10 days to open a route over this 400m committing wall and I believe it. Just climbing it ”en route” takes the most out of the forearms and you have to be strong in your mind, keeping focus and believe in your self.
Because the distans between the bolts and pitons are almost binocular distans, specially on the easier parts of the routes.
With run-outs over 5-10m a fall will be painful and not an option. But, on the more difficult sections and cruxes there is often a good piece to clip in to.



Maybe the ”little Brother” syndrom of feeling non accepted from the bigger Haute Savoie neighbour Chamonix has lefts it signs since the grading is kept quite hard and the distance between bolts are very engagée? But anyhow, a visit here is a must and it is definitely one of the best places in France for long steep multi pitch climbing on beautiful rock formations of plates and cubics with an atmosphere of herbe. Because there is still a bit of cleaning to be done but the small flowers and bushes just makes the feeling of the climbing more alive. As long as you are not to allergic that is!

If you can find the harmoni and confidence you will have some great days on this wall. Just make sure to load up with glycogen because none of the pitches has the character of slabs.
Gear up for a small adventure and at a certain point if there is trouble, it is possible to make a retreat, up to a couple of rope lengths there is rappel anchors. But don’t count on that the whole way. The best chance is still to make it to the summit.

the summit plateu

And once on top the descent is very pleasant with a magnifique view over the surrounding mountains as pic de Bure.
And walking back down to the village and the road is very pleasant. Much nicer than rappelling the 400meters down the face.

Anna at the second pitch of Forts...

The classic and first route put up here is ” Sous la Griffe de Lucifer”. A 6b/c full on routine the middle of the wall. And a ”voie sérieuse”. It has the same start as an other grand route ”les Premiers pas d´Elsa” 7a. Which is a continuously technical and physical route with a lot of hard pitches involved.

Crux pitch of Fort Fainéants Frileux

An other classic and must do is ”Forts Fainéants Frileux” 16 pitches of athletic climbing with the hardest climbing in the middle and the top. The sortie at the top section will put the mood in for sure.

If you find the 20min approach to long there is an other couple of routes a little closer to the bridge and the road. Try out ”Association de Bienfaiteurs” 6c. 300meter climbing with some spectacular roofs!

View over Bienfaiteurs
Anna on Bienfaiteurs

Point of depart
Park at the bridge sign Souloise between Corps and Saint Didier en Dévoluy.
Walk over the small bring and go left,climbing over the wall, there is a rope attaches with a bolt close to go down. Follow the path for 20min up towards the face.
Go south, right, trough the woods. There is a distinct foot path down to the hameau des Jouves. 30-40min walk to the road.
To find the start of Forts Fainéants Frileux follow the path to its end, there is a small tree and a bolt at the bace.
L1: Go a couple of meters left of the pin. L2: Climb up 4m then head left on a travers.
You need
Materiel Rope 50m, 12 QD´s. A couple of longer ones, 60cm, is useful
Equipment in place, bolts and pitons

And for an even bigger adventure, look around the corner of les Gillardes, la Grande Roche. 7a over 500m ”la Balade d´un Bienheureux et d´un Sauvage"

Dressed 4 success!

/Konsten är att dö ung, så sent som möjligt


Aug 11, 2015

Highball Boulder week-end

   Highball Boulder week-end

Bränna Rock wall - viewed from the road

A couple of weeks of work up in the area around Kebnekaise and then together with a friend I had planned 5 days of climbing on the Norwegian side of the border. The goal was a wall up in the mountains south of Narvik. But as often in this oil rich country (which suddenly isn’t worth that much money anymore by the way, other story) our planes was killed by rain.
So an improvised idea was born, fishing and biking. Well that is good fun as well but after a couple of days…well it gets a little bit boring. Specially when the local inhabitants, MOSKITOS, do their best to dry you out.

"Truck ain´t Stuck" 7b

  An afternoon run more or less plan less suddenly brought my attention, some nice looking…granit walls some 20m from the dirt road brought me to an halt. I could direct at spot figure out 2 possibly lines, just some heavy duty work with the manche à balai aka broomstick. A lot of work actually!

Said an done. Just finished the course a pied, a fresh cup of coffee. And equipped with a broom and wire brush I headed back to the wood-wall, quickly approached on my Enduro bike. A great approach device in the Swedish inland on its most dirty roads. Suddenly that part is more then fun as well!

  The brooming in these part of the world often means more then just a little nettoyage, it means woodcutting close to performing a cutting area, aka ”karlhygge"
But after a couple of hours intensive work I had cleaned up three nice lines. And just to make things right I had to try the first spotted crack line first, onsight and solo. A perfect finger roof crack heading up a big flake system that angels out 3 meter up. Still a little wet on the first foot steps, but the jams are perfect. Sits like a vise.

"At the Tailgate" 7a+

In a good mood after the first one I go direct on the next one, a big fist crack system which is perfect for practising hand jams but that holds crimp on the sides. A nice relaxed 5c, ”Handfast”

  The 3rd route is a little more complicated, with a number of reachy catch moves at the top. Since the wall is 10m plus I take a practise first on rope, to get the frekvens and even learn if its possible. Falling on the last moves is not on the map! 

  A couple of rain drops quickly perform into a rain shower and the moustiques gets even more angry and intensive, time to retreat back home. But before leaving I had visualised 2 more lines…

Next morning, sunny as ever again. Back on the bike and back to the projects and kick starting the whisk.
Less work then on the previous ones I soon has 2 new ballads ready to go.
Turns out to be a little more difficult but the first one; ”Truck ain´t Stuck” 7b+, has the crux at the start. A crimp to a crispier crimp up to a long catch to a slope. Once that is in the bucket, the rest is less desperate. A couple of tries on the fist bad foot holds and the some more work with the wire brush followed by a bad catch…next try…its there. Just hurst to much to miss it I guess!

"At the Tailgate" 7a+ 

  Last line in the project show, the slab arete. Steep and intensive on smal holds that gets smaller and further away the higher up. Well obviously since it some 12-13m high I take the advantage to try it out with a rope first and learning the initial moves as well as getting an idea of which holds that need more cleaning.
Finding the crux just before the top, a long desperate catch up to a micro slope. Followed by the next and a smooth foot change to crimp and an other slope...
But as often in this business, my Vapour V keeps me going. If there is just any, they will stick to it!
Realising that this will not be a high frequent highball boulder, same here, falling is not an option. I realise that this must have a bolt or three/four and go as a sport climb…."The Return of the the Horseman" 7c/c+

  In the end, a productive week-end. 5 new routes between 5c to 7c/7c+ 

Routes from left to right - Kickback wall:
Handfast” 5c
”Truck ain´t Stuck” 7b
”At the Tailgate” 7a+
”The Return of the Horseman” 7c/7c+
”Young at Heart” 6b+

Nyliden Västra, Nyliden.
Follow the dirt road towards west going trough the village.
After a couple of kilometers, when you have passed the last houses, take the 3rd road to the right.
Follow this an other couple of km. The cliff is to be found just above the dirt road up to the right, can’t miss it.
GPS N63 44.811´E018 25.799´

/ Happily broke but not broken