First day of climbing today. I got to say – we were all psyched, but upon waking up and realizing that the weather was rather… Irish… well the psych was still there. Despite the rain we decided to just head out. With already packed bags we left at 8am, which turned out to be perfect – Upon arriving to Ceillac (1h drive from Vallouise) – there was barely anyone there yet. We were going to have the routes all for ourselves (not really though ;).
The main dish today was pair of routes called “Les Y” (in WI3+ grade). Luckily, by the time we arrived and geared up the weather cleared up. Actually it was too warm now. Easily +5C.
Peter and I were hoping to do both of them and started with the right hand side one. Meanwhile Sarah and Ronan hit the left hand side one. Both are similar length (around 200m), but with only 3 or 4 relatively small ice pitches each. Good, but not amazing.
By mid day we were done with the right hand side variant, mostly because we seem to understand each other pretty well, and there was no wasted time. We decided then to abseil to where the routes meet (above pitch 1). From there we went left (the route that Sarah and Ronan started the day with).
Unfortunately the crowds (mostly Spanish for some reason) caught up with us and now there was at least 3 parties ahead of us (one of which 4 climbers on one set of ropes!)
We were mostly climbing side by side with the crowds (the pitches could accommodate up to 3 leaders at once), until the final pitch, which was a long wait. Sincce it was very narrow, and mostly hollowed column it could really accomodate 2 climbers at once. We had a nice lunch and waited out until every one left, and set off. It was Peter’s lead, and he opted for the middle line.
Later we learned from our friends that on that pitch they did the right hand side, which was also nice, with small touch of crampons on rock.
Anyway, we topped out easily and just followed the trail (going right) straight to the car park. Some amazing views from there!
The walk is pretty steep, but nothing serious. Takes some 30 minutes, and is definitely a better option that an abseil.
Upon returning home we borrowed Jerry’s dog (amazing animal!) and went to the pub.
Kesha the dog is a popular visitor in the local pub down the road, as every one seem to know her.
Apparently taking dogs to pub is a common thing in France. Who’d knew.