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Topic Date User
Rod's Euro 2010 - Trip Report 22-Aug-2010 At 7:05:29 PM rod
2/3 Les Ecandies, Vallon d'Arpette/Trient

Belayed Paul up, then a tricky downclimb got us established on a ledge below the remaining 3 first pillars. Following the guidebook, I climbed up a chimney/corner system to a ledge and from there could see no evidence that I was on route but could spy what seemed like a cordelette on an adjacent pillar. Downclimbed the 15m and reviewed the guidebook, decided to go back up and follow a crack corner system to the top of the most desireable looking of the 2 pillars (ie NOT where the cordelette was) and see if there was any fixed gear at the top. A nice bit of climbing ensued, 5 or 6 good cam and nut slots, and the resulting belay spot at the top of the pillar was spectacular – I could see Paul at the bottom of the pitch and there was a couple of rap bolts so it turned out to be a good call.

The photo's following are: Paul belaying, his view upon arrival and the following arete.

We rapped down. Pulled the rope. It jammed. I got the job of a lovely bit of desperate retrieval climbing which was unprotectable with the gear I had and the rock was a bit suspect. Got out of that little predicament...can't say it was pleasant though.

“ Le Rasoir”

Le Rasoir: 50 metre pitch where it gets interesting when there's about 200m of gas either side of a 10m long 10cm-50cm wide arete which can be protected. Following that there's a 5m steep section with a bolt, getting to the bolt requires a nice move protectable with a wire then there's a few delicate moves to get established onto a flake before getting on top of the ridge where there's a couple of good belay bolts. Great little bit of climbing.

Following that there's a long piece of protectable arete climbing normally followed by a down climb then a climb up a corner to the bum belay location before the “Saut d'Ange”...

...but I saw a “better” option. With 20:20 hindsight "better" means, off-route, quite tricky, lichen for the foot smears and fragile crystals in a crimpy ultimately unprotectable vein. It was desperate, probably 6b and the only protection was to get it done because once in the middle of the thing there was no going back. Made it through, signalled to Paul that he should down climb rather than tackle that section, established a belay on one badly placed nut. Truly it was just a bum belay position relying on the logic that I'm 20kg heavier than him and called for him to come on over...

...he followed my path through the desperate section and arrived all wide eyed, dripping in cold sweat and quite animated. I showed him the “belay” and he went silent.

“ le “Saut d'Ange”.

I strolled over all swagger thinking this would be just like walking along the pavement, took one look and decided to protect the fall with a good nut placement, there's no way Paul would have held it given our weight difference. Unnerved I calculated the rope necessary, angle to hit it such that any fall would hit the nut properly then launched on over. Here we go, a 1.5m gap and plenty of gas on all sides protected by 1 crappy nut behind a suspect flake...

...SO stoked to land it perfectly. Cruised further along the arete after placing a lot of gear for Paul in case he blew it and established a good belay station on the West side of the ridge looking up at the last of the big pillars and sole remaining crux pitch.

Looking back toward Le Rasoir and Saut d'Ange.

A bunch of Choucas flew overhead just as I finished the belay set up.

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