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|
|These's not a single route in the guidebook on any of the crags in the photo!|
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|