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|Gorges du Tarn, France
||Wednesday, 24 August 2011 At 9:59:03 AM
Ok so the story goes, late last year a very strong fenchie was trying an old open project in between Tennessee and Líamphi sectors. The route was bolted with 8mm expansion bolts placed in hollow rock. The poor guy fell on one of the bolts which pulled resulting in a nasty ground fall where he broke both wrists and both ankles. I was told by some locals that he will make a reasonable recovery but never reach his previous climbing ability (he was climbing 8c+/9a prior to the accident... Hi ODH , your still a tool!) due to the extent and severity of the injuries.
What I found out while in the tarn, was that a lot of the crags are actually on private land. In addition, the laws in France state that if someone has an accident on your property you can be liable for damages etc. Now the frenchie in question didnít sue anyone, but the accident sure did scare the landowners. The knee-jerk reaction was to close the entire area off to climbers. The CAF (Climbing association of France) managed to negotiate the reopening of certain areas and sectors based on a a few conditions. These were:
- All routes bolted with 8mm and 10mm expansion were to closed. The first 3 bolts removed with a no entry tag placed wee the first bolt would have been. These routes would need to be re-equipped before being climbable again
- Routes bolted with 12mm expansions or Glue-ins would be ok
- Continued negations with landowners regarding access to the crags, with a number of alternatives being considered, including a permit/waiver system... Letís hope this isnít the case! That said, I guess itís a better option than the alternative of a complete closure.
Overall this meant a large number of routes were closed. The main sectors that were affected were:
- L-amphi, Naviere, Líoasif, Planete causes, arc-en ciel, calemez vous, dromadiare, gullich (These entire sectors were closed, bar maybe 1-2 routes)
- A few other sectors had closed routes also, but you could still climb there
To give you an idea of how serious they are taking the situation, while climbing at de que fas aqui sector one day, the police arrived and questioned us about what we were doing. Asking us if we had placed the bolts, removed any no entry tags etc. Of course, we hadnít, and they were on their way.
We first heard about the situation in march/april this year, but by that stage we had booked and paid for flights, accommodation etc and didnít really know what to do. The info available on the web was limited I contacted a number of people via 8a.nu and other sites to try and gauge what would be open/closed. The info was still fuzzy and I was getting contrasting reports from everyone. In the end , we decided to bite the bullet and try our luck. As you read from the TR, we had a great time and there were plenty of routes open to climb on. That said, by the end of the trip ~5 weeks, we were starting to run out of routes to do, and the situation seemed to be changing week-to-week. Some rebolting had taken place while we were there which was great, but some routes were actually open at the start of our trip and closed by the end.
We climbed at Tennessee, de que fas aqui, shaddocks, le trone, ces beach, la muse, Moulin a huile, club house, holliandis, canyon (Pretty much all routes open), as well as a the odd route at one of the predominantly closed crags. We spent the first few days scoping out what was open/closed and had a pretty good idea of where and what we could climb early on. You also have Boffi, Cantobre and the Jonte nearby as a backup all, all of which are amazing!
Presuming the situation remains unchanged, I wouldnít hesitate in recommending it as a destination, definitely an amazing place and one of my favourite places Iíve climbed anywhere.
Hope this helps.
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