|The Restaurant Palkin, where Mougins School staff ate like kings!|
Next destination was the Ariege, specifically the Grotte de Sabart (where we last climbed some 10 years ago) hoping to find the cave nice and cool. Alas, t'was not to be, though we did arrive late the first day. I got shut down by the heat on El Chico and Como un tigre, with sweat pouring out of every pore. It was great to meet up with legend Stevie Haston in his local "habitat", trading tales and moaning about youth (or rather the lack of it, as far as we were concerned!). He has mellowed a lot since I last saw him in Wales probably in the 80's (possibly due to his very calm French wife Laurence and all the yoga they do). He is the perfect example of motivation and what you can do if you put in the effort. He is still super strong and probably the most motivated grand dad in the world! He is currently working a project that he reckons will take 3 to 5 months and will need careful attention to diet, resting and so on. How awesome is that? I'm sure it'll take him less time than that but, as Stevie said "Sabart ain't going away anywhere soon!". I hope we get chance to meet up again some time soon. We then spent some ace, stress-free days bouldering at Orlu (which has great circuits on super grippy granite) despite the 41 degrees C.
Back home, a day at Jurassic Park in the fantastic Gorges du Loup to see just how bad things were. The usual repertoire of great routes no problem, despite feeling like they were completed in a sauna! Ok, perhaps it does help a little knowing just exactly where every knee bar is, I suppose. Still, it was just pure pleasure to go climbing without dogging on the end of the rope for a change.
Which makes me think about the point of going away trying to climb in summer. We get 2 whole months off and it is almost impossible to climb at your limit in Europe. How frustrating is that?
|At the end of the day, Stevie Haston cooling down on Baby Sabart 7c+|
|Elaine on what we called Colin Binks' problem (5b) at Orlu.|
|Elaine again at Orlu.|
|Hot and sweaty on El Chico (photo by Laurence Gouault Haston)|