Last week I returned from an amazing ten days in Ceuse, said to be one of the best crags in the world. I was out there with Will Smith and Jonny White. We were lucky to have perfect conditions the whole time we were there and there were no forced rest days due to weather!
Not gunna write about the whole trip, just about some of the best days and my favourite routes.
On the first day we headed to Cascade which is an amazing steep sector that features lots of bouldery climbing between HUGE rests. First we did the classic warm up Ananda (7a) then I got on Correspondence Imaginaire (7c+) - 20 minutes later I lowered down. My first 7c+ onsight. Good start.
Then we headed over to Biographie, which is probably one of the most famous sectors in the world as it is the home to Realisation (9a+). It also has one of the most classic 8as in Ceuse, Les Collonettes, which can either be done at 8a from the ground or 7c+ starting after the very hard bouldery crux. I definitely wanted the real tick. I worked the moves then went for a redpoint, getting close to the top. Next go, I thought. I had a few more goes but in the end I could not even do the crux move at the start anymore.
Next morning Jonny and Will both managed to crush Correspondence Imaginaire after a half rest day. I was back beneath the amazing tufas of Les Collonetes but again I could not get past the reachey move at the start! Time for a change, I thought, so I got on the classic 8b of the crag, L’Ami De Tout Le Monde, which is a very powerful and steep route on the right hand side of the crag. I managed to get all the moves pretty quick so returned to the ground for a redpoint attempt. I had a few attempts that evening before it got dark, managing to do the first crux only to fall off on the next move.
A few days later after a rest I was back at Cascade and managed to onsight Mirage (7c+). Will also came very close to the onsight. We then walked over to Collonetes, but I still could not crack that crux move! So I did the 7c+ version with the aid start to get my draws out, but I felt ashamed for doing it with the aid when it’s possible without. I promised to come back and finish it off properly later on in the trip.
Next I decided to get back on L’Ami De Tout Le Monde. I quickly dogged it to get the moves back into my head and then set off for an attempt feeling strong. On the start the jug felt 10 times better with good skin, caught the crux yes, flick to jug - got it! Come on! “Relax,” Will shouted. I rested and then set off into the second crux, which is not as hard as the first , but is very droppable - luckily not for me on this go. I then climbed the top wall slowly, being careful not to make any mistakes, and clipped the chains! YES! Second 8b. As for the difficulty, it felt very similar to SatanX (8b), which I did in Gorge du Loup at Easter in the same amount of sessions – two. I was psyched!
For the rest of the trip I got some really fun climbing done and on the second last day after doing Face De Rat (8a+) on my second go I decided it was a good idea to get back on Les Collenettes. After almost catching that early crux a few times I managed to get it and top the route easily. Even through this route is ‘only’ 8a it is one of the most satisfying routes I have ever done due to the start move feeling impossible!
Jonny and Alex Waterhouse both got some impressive ticks while we were out there, Jonny doing his first 8a and Alex putting in a sick effort to onsight Blockage Violent, a desperate 7b+. Will had a good trip ticking two 8as while I was there and he is still there for three more weeks so will probably crush some even more hard stuff!
Thanks to everyone, Ben too, who made it such a good trip! And for my birthday messages on the last Saturday!
Overall my ticklist was:
Overall my ticklist was:
7c Vagabond d’Occident (o/s)
7c Galaxy (second go, ground up)
7c Corps Etranger (second go)
7c+ Mirage (o/s)
7c+ Correspondence Imaginaire (o/s)
7c+ Privilege Du Serpent (second go)
7c+ Tenere (second go)
7c+ Makash Walou
8a Bourinator (second go)
8a Carte Blanche (second go)
8a Petit Tom
8a Les Collonettes
8a+ Encore (second session)
8a+ Face De Rat (second go)