Céüse 2014

Last week I got home from a couple of weeks climbing at the best crag in the world, Céüse! It was almost exactly two years ago I was last at Céüse, it was just as good as I remember.

Never get tired of looking out at this view from the crag, mixed weather in the first week gave us some dramatic scenes

Céüse by night from the campsite, thanks to Greg for photo

When I was climbing in Morocco a few months a ago I had the pleasure of meeting Arnaud Petit. As well as new routing all over the world Arnaud lives at the base of Céüse and obviously knows the crag like the back of his hand, if you haven't already seen it the video of Arnaud climbing Black Bean on gear is well work a watch. As I headed out to Céüse I dropped Arnaud a message asking if he had any route recommendations for me, very kindly he responded with a list of his favourite routes at 7c-8a+. This list became a kind of tick list for me during the trip! Arnaud's recommended routes did not disappoint, every one I got on was amazing. Here's Arnaud's list:

Face de rat, Femme blanche Encore, Poinçonneur des lilas, Berlin, Makash walou, Femme noire, Tout n'est pas si facile

The highlights of the first week include Blocage Violent 7b+, la Chos and Arnauds recommendation Tout n'es pas si Facile 7c+, I was very please with managing to just about flash this route, Arnaud has recently climbed an amazing looking extension to this route on trad gear.

Where are we going to climb today?!

Super Mickey 7b in less than perfect conditions! 

Successful but (unexpectedly) cold red point of Blockage Violet 7b+ (ard!)...thanks to Bob Hats for keeping me warm!

The amazing Cent Patates 7b+, next route along from Jungle Boogie 9a+!

The climbing highlight of the second week was climbing the amazing Face de Rat 8a+. The route was recommended by Arnaud. The route has its own sector named after it (which is always a good sign!), the Face de Rat sector is the most undeveloped sector of the whole crag, it's just so steep! There are some great clips of Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda climbing Face de Rat as well as footage of Chris putting up a new superb hard line close by in this video from Petzl. Face de Rat is longer than most routes in Céüse; it's got two distinct and contrasting sections: at first super steep on mostly good holds then a super technical upper section with an amazing sequence on perfect little pockets on a vertical bulging wall. The difficulties of both sections are similar but very different styles, this makes the route feel well rounded. The route took me three red-points over three sessions.

Enjoying the view before setting off for another attempt at Face de Rat #bobhat!

Lowering off after successful redpoint of Face de Rat 8a+

Dramatic scenes

Hanging out at Céüse is great, the place is so beautiful and always full of many other climbers for many different nationalities to chat to. This time of year Céüse is one of the best places to climb in Europe, this draws in all the big names! One day I found myself belaying Amy on a warm up with Adam Ondra belaying his partner to the right of me and Alex Megos doing the same to my left! I got to watch Alex make a super quick ascent of Biographie and Adam give the route some red point attempts:

Full moon! Thanks to Greg and his amazing camera for photos

Rest day expedition up Petit Céüse (little outcrop opposite Céüse, with a fun grade I scramble ride) 

Stunning alpine flower up Petit Ceuse
Amy enjoying a multi-pitch adventure, and topping out Céüse!

Multipitch top-out into paradise!

Céüse summit panorama 

Morning coffee by the lake looking at the imposing grandeur of Céüse 

La Chèvrerie de Céüse - awesome organic goat cheese farm also with free wifi just up the road from the camp-site

On the way home we met up with our friend Sarah near Lyon who's biking by herself down through France, very impressive! As it was on our route she recommended that we stop off in a little place called Pommard in Burgundy....   

We ended up spending two nights in Pommard and Nuit Saint Georges just South of Dijon in Burgundy, highly recommended. Beautiful place and lovely wine :-)

You can take a man away from the Orme...