27th September 2014
During a recent trip to the Ariege region of France I had the goal of climbing a 7a, on our last day I found one in the Rockfax and only just managed to get it on my third attempt. On getting home I found out that this wasn’t a solid 7a and was probably nearer 6c+. “Fine” I thought, I’ll pick a 7a at home and do that to make up for it.
After sending a few invites around to various people who I thought would be keen to spend a day with the goal of climbing one hard route I waited for someone to get back to me. Fortunately Craig was keen and the redpoint was on. Actually quite a big group ended up meeting at the crag and we had a good day all round.
The morning was spent warming up, I climbed with Gaz and we got through the following routes.
A nice long warm up with a (new!) tricky finish to reach the belay, wonderful apart from one or two loose rocks to worry about.
Some nice delicate moves on this gain the slab, after which it’s a romp to the chain. After this route we scrambled down to The Sanctuary sector.
Quite beefy climbing through the overlaps with a crux at the top. Really nice.
A technical groove that got pumpy toward the end, bad footwork made me fall, doh.
The best route in the quarry, a sweeping “wave” feature with just the right amount of holds, a no hands knee bar rest and some great, technical climbing.
This was the goal of the day, we scrambled back to the lower tier and I found Craig. I learned a valuable lesson here, take a clip stick for redpointing. It was a real battle to get the first couple of clips in, fortunately Craig was there to do it otherwise I don’t think the route would have been climbed. With some aid tactics – standing in a sling – I managed to get the last clip in and thread the chains at the top.
We then spent a good hour working out all the moves, I got nervous when I realised I could do them all and the route might go. We opted to extend the (high) second clip so it could be clipped before a hard move, and then pulled the rope through.
Craig went first and cruised it up to the last hard move where he fell, my turn next. I climbed the sequence I had learned on the redpoint and got a really good rest at the no-hands-knee-bar. Finishing was fairly steady going with the heel-hook beta I figured out to make the move off the flake, the last hard move went with a “watch me” and a grunt, job done on the first RP attempt!
Craig was psyched and tied back on but unfortunately didn’t make the first reachy move, after this we cleaned up the draws and pulled the rope through.
Feeling confident after climbing Cairn we caught up with the rest of the group back in The Sanctuary and after messing around on a few routes I decided to try the hardest route in the sector.
Tricky moves through overlaps to a crux at the very top, I got it on the lead after working it once, my first “-arian”!
All in all a good day had by all, and I’ve now got a taste for sport.