Guided Adventure in the Verdon Gorge

Feedback from Stephen Felker Jr (Georgia USA)

Posted on 2009-09-23 - filed under testimonials

I just returned home to the U.S. from a trip my wife and I took travelling and climbing in France. As we considered our options prior to our departure, the Verdon Gorge was quickly placed at the top of my list. Like most dedicated enthusiasts of the vertical world, I had seen pictures of the wild exposure and technical face climbing under the clear blue skies of southern France, but I had never had the opportunity to see the Gorges du Verdon for myself, let alone sample its world famous and world class climbing on bullet-hard limestone. I just had to go! However, taking into account the scale of the place and its reputation for commitment and challenging route finding coupled with the fact that I was travelling with my wife in her third trimester of pregnancy, I had my reservations. Thus, we toyed with the idea of foregoing the Verdon for other areas in the region that offered more typical single pitch, approach-from-the-bottom style sport climbing.

As I surfed the web looking for a guide who could perhaps help make my dream to climb in the Verdon Gorge a reality, I just happened to find this website. Speaking absolutely no French, I was pleasantly surprised to find someone who offered guide services in the Verdon that would obviously speak my mother tongue, English. While I have enjoyed climbing with individuals despite language barriers, I did not think dangling from a hanging belay above 400 meters of air would be the place to be struggling to communicate. Furthermore, Alan's resume blew me away. I had no doubt that I was looking at a man of immense experience and skill in the vertical realm, and I quickly sent him an email inquiring about his guiding services. Alan was quick to respond and immediately gave me the impression that he was not only knowledgeable and capable but was extremely sincere and friendly. We discussed my circumstances, and I decided that he was just the person I needed to help me achieve my goal of climbing in the Verdon. Not only familiar with the Gorge itself, he made well thought out recommendations for accommodations in the area that proved to not only meet my needs but more importantly make for a happy wife!

Alan was punctual and prepared when he showed up at the inn to pick me up, and he projected both a confidence and a humility that immediately put me at ease. I knew I was in good hands. For two days Alan Carne acted as my private guide, coach, and mentor. He entertained me with stories of past climbs, which include many impressive sends, and relationships with well known icons of the climbing world. He picked climbs, both long and short, that challenged me on the sharp end as well as his second. My only disappointment came when the time for me to depart arrived. I will never forget my first experience in the Verdon. The climbing was every bit as exciting and rewarding as I had hoped, and the beauty of the Gorge and the surrounding area far surpassed my expectations.

Thank you Alan and see you next time, as I will be back for more....

Stephen Felker (September 2009)

If you have climbed with Alan or have climbed in the Verdon then we would like to hear about your experience.
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