I knew Pete, but only by name, because he had taken a very long groundfall whilst trying to make an on-sight ascent of a climb I was involved in putting up in Pembroke. He was also very well known for hard ascents at Malham and had put in a lot of effort trying to do Mark Leach's Cry Freedom. I think we actually first met each other at la Grotte du Peillon (Pete was climbing with Philippe Gatta). Then we bumped into each other at the Gorges du Blavet.
I remember very clearly Pete telling me that he'd tried Poupoune, which is a frightening looking 7c+ at Blavet. He said it was really very hard for the grade and very run out. Understandably, I have avoided this climb for the fourteen years since that conversation took place and Pete and Lynn have long since moved back to Bristol! That is, until last week, when I saw an ace photo of Alex Zuttre's posted on Facebook, showing another expat Brit living down here called Felix Coxwell. When I saw that photo I just had to go and find out how scary that climb was. All of a sudden I wanted it badly! How strange is that?
The toil and trouble started (not very promisingly) when I went there with Axel, Olivier, Fred and Sophie last Tuesday. The moves were hard, reachy, technical, on small holds and, yes, very run out in places. It seemed really hard, especially near the top when you'd be really tired. I was falling off again on Saturday, when I went with Marie-Jo and Julien. I actually thought at that point that I couldn't do it, due to a lack of reach on the crux at the top, that is if I was even able to link it together all the way up to there.
However, yesterday Fred Oddo and I both managed to link together all the tenuous moves to clip the chain on our second runs! Fred typically cruised it in fine French style, whereas I had to fight really hard in the bull dog spirit all the way (just ask Sheila Stark, she'll agree). Still, we were both very happy chappies leaving the crag, despite spending 3 days on a 7c+. To cap it all Liverpool beat Man U at Old Trafford finishing off a truly ace day.
What's next? There's a very nice looking 8a just to the left.....
However, it was quite a sad day, too. It was the first time I've gone out climbing without taking Scamp. She was absolutely knackered after Saturday and could hardly walk (she is now eleven and a half years old and she's slowing down). However, she's had two rest days and she's looking good for tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
|Sweety Pie, 6a+ warm up.|
|Setting the draws on Saturday on Poupoune|
|That great photo of Alex Zuttre's again, thanks mate!|
|Scamp watches whilst I struggle (thanks to Marie-Jo Centofanti / Voyages a la Verticale for the photos)|