Rocky croissant

If life is like a checklist than I could say I checked most of the things that come from France: like French fries, French kissing, baguette, croissant, brie… I even climbed in France in the Ailefroide area and Ceuse, but what do you do if a French friend contacts you and invites you to come to Verdon? First: you check out the pictures of the area on the internet. Checked! Second: you ask your boss if you can get holidays. Checked! Third: you start looking for a climbing mate and hope you will find somebody! Checked! Finally: you GO THERE! Checked.

Gorge-ous πŸ˜€

The best way of getting there is to fly to Nice… and as the name of the city tells it is NICE πŸ™‚ , so I first couchsurfed by a cool guy for two nights and explored a bit this nice city and now I can say Nice is nice and vise versa πŸ™‚ . Then I took a bus early in the morning to Castellane, where my friends picked me up and we drove on narrow roads to the gorge.

It’s nice πŸ™‚

Seeing Verdon gorge in person really took my breath away… The gorge is gorgeous and I got exited for some nice lines. But first I had to meet my climbing partner Max, that I met on Facebook. Before going multipitching I usually get to know my climbing partner on sports routes, so I can get a better picture about how he belays and climbs. We went to an old sector and climbed a few routes and he was a calm and trustworthy French guy, so on the next day we went for a 160m long route called “Catalunya mon amour”. A great almost direct line of four pitches (yeah, the pitches are long, the first is over 40 meter long 6b, which definitely warms you up πŸ™‚ ).

For approach in Verdon you usually rappel down, sometimes is a mixture of hike and rappel, like in the sector CrΓͺte des Vernis – Voie where we did the 300m long route “Une pincΓ©e de Ketchup”. First you need to hike for about 30 minutes and then take two over 40 meter long rappels in the air… I must say that the rappel really turned my stomach and head around…. it was just too early for so much exposure. Damn I was glad, when I touched the ground…

A lot of air on the rappel

Climbing in Verdon is very technical and with lots of traverses… I am not a fan of them, so I had some struggles in one route, where even the bolts weren’t that close… From the topo in the guidebook looked like a small traverse passage but in fact it was the whole pitch… I was so happy, when I reached the anchor and screamed “Max, vΓ’che” (safe in French, I even learned some new words πŸ™‚ ).

The evenings were spent at the camping site, where I was staying with friends. It was really nice to cook and eat together, where you really see that sharing is caring. We spent our rest day in a beautiful medieval village Moustiers, enjoying some nice views over Provence-Alpes-CΓ΄te d’Azur.

It was short but sweet and I must say that my checklist for France got longer. Even if I have seen some parts of France already, there are still some unexplored areas, that I want to visit, I guess I will have to return someday. But in fact once you think you seen it all, life just surprises you with new views and gives you some nice memories. Checked πŸ™‚ !

Just waw πŸ™‚

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