Gorge du Tarn

I've just returned from a week of sunny sport climbing in Gorge du Tarn. It was a great week, it felt like everything came together: good company, warm weather and climbing fitness.

I didn't have much knowledge of Gorge du Tarn other than seeing a few photos. After a longer than planned and rather hot journey it was amazing to arrive in Gorge du Tarn just as the sun was setting. The Gorge is a super picturesque location, striking limestone towers protrude out of lush woodland. The 'main' road down through the gorge is a work of art, single track in places it weaves it's way through carved out tunnels in the limestone walls beside the river Tarn.

Groge du Tarn
Looking at the guidebook I was stunned by how little of the potential climbing has been developed, it seems that only the most acceptable (roadside) crags have been developed. I'm not sure what the current local situation is but it would seem that the areas has massive potential for further development.

These's not a single route in the guidebook on any of the crags in the photo!
We camped next to the river, most days started with a refreshing transition from sweaty sleeping bag into cool river water.

The highlight of climbing in the Groge it's self was sector Tennessee, unfortunately some of the best routes in the Gorge were closed due to the re-bolted work that is currently under-way. This work should be finished soon, but it wasn't a bit problem for us, there was still lots to go at. In sector Tennesse Luke and I onsighted the long stamina crack pitch of Une Colonne Derriere Les Verrous 7b and the awesome Les Ailes Du Desir 7b+ with big moves between positive finger pockets. After getting the the chains of Ailes Du Desir I had a blast up the 8a extension, taking the route to 50m! The climbing was amazing, probably the best pocket pulling I've ever done. After clocking up a fair bit of airtime I got a bit psyched out and lowered off, definitely one to come back to.

Unknown climber in the rest at the beginning of Ailes Du Desir
The stunning Millau viaduct
We also had a couple of days climbing at Le Boffi, about a 40 min drive away. One of the highlights was climbing Sac a Glue 7b+, more big move pocket pulling goodness. 

Me on Sac a Glue 7b+ in Le Boffi - thanks to Dave for the photo
The climbing highlight of the trip for me was climbing El Monstro del Muesli! a 45m 8a in Gorges de la Jonte first redpoint with a couple of hours rest after working out the moves. I was really chuft to get my first '8a in a day' on the last full day of climbing. I'm putting it down to having two bowls of Muesli for breakfast that morning! 
Luke starting up El Monstro del Muesli! 8a, Gorges de la Jonte  

Luke lowering off El Mostro del Muesli!

The route starts with a pumpy 7b to a good shake-out then a reachy technical crux sequence into immaculate face climbing on small crimps finger pockets finishing right on top of the wall. 

The river Tarn and Gorges de la Jonte

Short and sharp 7a on a day that was really too hot to climb! Can't remember the name or sector. Thanks to Dave for the photo