Guided Adventure in the Verdon Gorge

Black Pot – Prise de Cent – Tentative d 'Evasion link up

Posted on 2012-04-20 - filed under verdon

view down 'Black pot' from 'Tentative d'Evasion'

I had one of those fantastic 'not just another day on the crag' days yesterday with my buddy Simon Aldinger.  This 8 pitch link up defies my literary skills but for those operating around 7c it is a world class wake up call to the dangers of complacency at having the incredible L'Escales in your back yard.

I knew this link up probably hadn't been done before but even so I was stunned and mildly intimidated at the virgin beauty of the first pitch. 7c+ and a kind of super direct  to the first pitch of Mangoustine Scatophage this 45m bulging grey wall was equipped in 1988, the newness of the stone and spider web in the occasional deeper pocket indicates it has probably had only a handful of ascents. What a privilege. If this was at Ceuse it would be one of those pitches on the circuit, like 'Femme Noir', or 'Berlin' with its tell tale tick marks, polish and decoration of hanging quickdraws! Here only the bolts, happily not too Verdonesque, are a sign of passage. Beyond this the climb takes in 2 pitches (6b, 7a) of  'Prise de Cent' on scarily rough and sharp orange rock before breaking through a huge roof (8b+ or A1 for us mortals) into 'Tentative d'Evasion', 50m of wild overhanging tufa crack (7c, 7b) in  mind blowing position with the Verdon Gorge spread out below our hanging belay.

Onsighting this first pitch was certainly optimistic as a warm up but it felt good to get it with a couple of hangs having put in good fight. Its very sustained, no extreme moves but with multiple blind alleys, bad feet and sucker pockets through the bulging crux section. A rest day will see us back knowing the trick is to move fast through here then carefully manage the rests in the slightly easier (7b) finish to the anchor.

Psyched to get back to it tomorrow!

Rappel 'Dalles Grises' to the Jardin des Ecureuils,  traverse 40m right then descend slightly around trees to arrive in a flat area below an imposing grey wall. The offwidth crack of 'Barjots' is on the right.
Pitch 1: 7c+ (7b obligatory). Ultimate Verdon pockets – Mega!
Pitch 2: 6c+ Runout! Belay as for Mangoustine.
Pitch 3 6a Start as for Mangoustine but up to belay instead of moving leftwards.
Pitch 4: 6b Traverse right on amazing sharp orange rock, up past a scoop to hanging belay.
Pitch 5: 7a Traverse horizontally left on same rock to sharp crux and Juniper tree belay.
Pitch 6: 8b+ But who knows? Climb through massive roof to wildly exposed belay. (clip stick was useful for us)
Pitch 7: 7c Awesome overhanging crack and tufa action. (This can be linked in with pitch 6)
Pitch 8: 7b More of the same to top (50m).
Gear: 15 Quickdraws
Quality: *****
I sent it!! 25/04/2012

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