Guided Adventure in the Verdon Gorge

"The Climb is not a Frog..."

Posted on 2012-11-05 - filed under verdon

Autumn colour and blue limestone

A nice relaxing week with my old friend, musician and top level road tripping professional climber Said Belhaj. We first met 10 years ago in Australia's Arapiles at a time when he was just starting his professional career. Since then he has amassed a huge experience travelling to some of the world's most exotic locations, climbing the best and with some of the best. See his blog here at:

This week his objectives were to repeat a recent 9A in the huge Galetas cave and the famous 8b+ tufa 'Tom et Je Ris' as well as get some decent photo sessions with a professional photographer behind the lens. Unfortunately mediterranean storms were forcast for the whole week followed by violent 'mistral' winds in the aftermath, so only the 9A was sent on this occaision. Though only a partial success by Said's standards, for myself this would have been a lifelong personal best!

In between the torrential rain we managed some nice photo sessions with the  cloudy skies really bringing out the beautiful autumn colours in the Gorge, but 'Tom et Je Ris' was looking doubtful. Then on the last morning waking to perfect clear skies but strong north wind down here in the village we decided to give it a try. At least it would dry the rock out quickly. We hadn't counted on the effect of 800m of height gain, and arriving on the crest of the south rim of the Canyon after a 1 1/2 walk the wind was blowing directly at us at a near Patagonian intensity! Abseiling 60m to the hanging belay and attempting to climb 8b+ in these conditions would be poor judgement and verging on reckless. We made the agonising descision that it would have to wait for another day, perhaps in spring. Walking away from the crest and into the lee of the wind, the sense of disappointment was tangible but to quote Said:

"The climb is not a frog, it will not jump away"


Here's a shot showing the beautiful autumn at the moment contrasted against the legendary blue limestone.


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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