Guided Adventure in the Verdon Gorge

La Demande

Posted on 2012-04-11 - filed under verdon

Matt on the summit of La Demande

We have an expression here in Provence which is "Noel au Balcon Paques au Tisons" "Christmas in the Sun Easter by the Woodfire"  Its turning out like that this year. Winter was just  too perfect to last much longer!

I just got back from a short and rather washout visit to Margalef in Spain, trying to get some climbing in between long bouts of rain.

Driving back I was praying I would be granted some respite for Wednesday when I would be climbing La Demande with London climber Matthew Alexander. Matthew is on a 3 month climbing roadtrip and one of his objectives is to do one of the great classics of the Verdon. His schedule is tight and we really only have the one day to bag it so when it rained all day Tuesday the outcome was less than certain for the following day. Wednesday dawned damp and cold but dry and with a forcast of  strong west wind to blow the cloud away looks like we might get our chance. Arriving at the base the route is actually dry, but will those upper chimmneys  be? 

Matthew is very efficient and we move quickly in order to keep warm and not get caught in any late afternoon showers. Arriving at pitch 10, the first chimmney its as I feared, streaming wet! These upper pitches never feel as easy as their 6a grade would suggest and it looks like I'm going to have to be creative and climb to the exterior of the chimmney bridging wide and trusting my feet on the drier but polished side walls and  avoiding the wet stream running down the right hand side, feels a little scary and insecure. Its the same on the following chimmney but all passes without mishap and we're home and dry so to speak, and on the summit 6hours after starting, just as an afternoon shower comes on – perfect timing. 

Thanks for a great day Mathew!

If you have climbed with Alan or have climbed in the Verdon then we would like to hear about your experience.
You can get in touch with us or submit an article - Here.