Because of our long day 2 days ago I’m delayed in doing the write-ups. I’ll try to keep it brief.
For our 5th outing we decided to do it differently. Sarah and Ronan set off early as per our usual routine. They decided to get back to Freissineieres to do the routes they missed on the previous day (main focus on “Ice Pocalypse”, WI4).
Peter and I were still tired from Day4 mini-epic so we decided to take it slow and perhaps check out some other places. We left around 10 and drove towards Fournel. Unfortunately it quickly became clear that our little ‘Black Lion’ couldn’t make it far into the valley (even with snow chains on) and we just gave up (since we didn’t want to waste too much time).
We hatched a plan of late start at Freissineieres, which would mean that we could be climbing Ice Pocalypse (that is the route number 3, left hand side on the Y split, on picture on previous blog) alone, since the morning crowds would be mostly over.
And that exactly what we did. We showed up at the bottom of the route around 1pm, and all the parties (car park was full, 6 or 7 cars!) were queuing at the bottom of the top pitch, or already abseiling.
We decided to swap the pitches (since I did the 1st one last time), so Peter went 1st now , then I did the 2nd.
When I reached the anchors we met Sarah and Ronan, who just abseiled off the 3rd pitch and were getting ready to move right on final pitch of Happy Together route (right hand side).
As we expected the crowds were all nearly gone, so Peter grabbed the lead again and finished our route on fairly traveled out P3. It was a long one, and definitely crux pitch, when in condition graded WI4+. Another fantastic performance by Peter.
By then our friends were also done and we all met up by the base.
Evening was spent in a company of our host Jerry Gore, who is not only very friendly, knowledgeable (about the area, but also all sorts of climbing & adventures in general) and accommodating, but also accomplished climber & mountain guide himself he understands the needs of people like us – regular weekend warriors.
We picked Jerry’s brain about possible suggestions and ideas for our last day (in light of less than favorable weather forecast).
We actually got to talk to him almost every day (and not only about ‘what to do next day’, but also about general climbing & life stuff), and I got to say I’m very impressed with the way it worked out. Having access to a local climbing legend on daily basis is indispensable on short trips like this one. I probably will do a separate post on ‘picking the best accommodation for climbing trip’, but for me personally I’ll be always looking for places affiliated/owned with/by mountain people.
Anyway – the consensus for our last day was to try to visit the artificial single pitch Ice crag in the village around 1h drive from Vallouise. I’ll write it up on how it went in my next entry (tomorrow).
Spoiler alert: nobody got injured this time.