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Topic Date User
Rod's Euro 2010 - Trip Report 22-Aug-2010 At 7:07:27 PM rod
3/3 Les Ecandies, Vallon d'Arpette/Trient

Called Paul over, he nailed it and finished the pitch before taking a call from his folks at the belay...

...whilst I sussed out the guidebook to see where we were meant to head...which wasn't real obvious. There were meant to be bolts somewhere up the Western side of a nice big golden pillar but I couldn't see them. Finally decided there could be a nice crack system at about 5c/6a that would go on gear so that was where I headed. Lovely orange granite, I get into the first move and spot a bolt, followed by another. Reassuring to be on route...however, they could have left it to go on gear because its a bloody good bit of climbing. Turned out to be a 5c section followed by a slab, then reaching an arete between 2 pillars you can climb a section of seams on gear to reach the top of the big golden pillar. Belay station non-existent and a little low on gear I tied off a sling equalised against a so, so 0.75 Cam. Sitting astride the top of the pillar I called Paul up, enjoying the scenery from the top.

He arrived at the piece of gear below me, I got him to shove another 0.5 Cam beside it and belay me for the down climb. Checked out the belay, re-jigged it slightly and I set off along the ridge for the last 70m. One bit of 5c protectable with an 0.75 Cam and otherwise it was simply a case of finding a nut or sling slot every 10m before reaching the final rap station. Paul arrived, I took a few photo's, set up the rap and down we went. Completely uneventful getting off which was nice.

We were back at the packs around 7:00PM, had a snack and reached the car at 9:00PM. Overall probably lost 1h 15m in route finding/jammed rope recovery but even so its a pretty big day out given the approach.

Some additional route comments: I had 4 slings and could have done with 4 more. Cordelette and knife would have been useful to set up rap stations rather than do some of the downclimbs and ensure the climber on second got to enjoy the views, most of the pillars don't have rap stations and in some cases what is there is tat and badly placed (eg one was wrapped around a loose flake). Good trad skills a must: placing gear, establishing belays, route finding and, though 5c, leave a decent onsight margin as its not a stroll in the park. Route guides available on the web are as good as what we were using, actually they're better as the drawing we had proved inferior to a TR description I pulled from Camp to Camp's website. It's a spectacular setting, calm in our experience as we were the only people on the route, thoroughly recommended.

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