Guided Adventure in the Verdon Gorge

'Oublier pour Tenir'

Posted on 2014-05-11 - filed under routes

Oublier pour Tenir 7b+

The above climb is typical of the older, purest style of face climbing in the Verdon. A real technical testpiece climbed mainly on vertical features for both hands and feet - an exploration of vertical balance using layaways, gastons, smears, and friction, with high exposure and with 'spacey' protection. It is found in a little visited part of the Gorge 300m above the 'Sentier Martel', way up above the 'Paroi Rouge' and is one of the few routes in this style that I haven't done before. I like to feel I know the Canyon and it's deepest recesses so it is a rare thrill to discover a forgotten gem like this with so few signs of passage - no chalk marks, no traces of shoe rubber and with the finely chiselled holds still crisp and sharp under my fingertips. The name of the climb also captured my imagination - 'Oublier pour Tenir' - of which the closest I can get to a translation is 'To forget in order to hold on', and is very suggestive of this Verdon style of insecure slab climbing.

In any case the afternoon and climb was certainly quite an un-forgettable one belayed by my friend, writer and climber Andrew Bisharat and photographed by master image maker Keith Ladzinski for National Geographic. More of their work can be seen here..

Thanks for a perfect belay Andrew, and thank you for your Art Keith!

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