Thursday, October 4, 2012

Trip Report : Orpierre : Episode 1

The impressive sector 'Quiquillon' at Orpierre is host to some fine multi-pitches
    Yesterday, Anne and I went climbing at Orpierre,  a really nice cliff about 45 minutes drive from our house.  It was my first day climbing since I was attacked by poison ivy one month ago.  I spent 19 days on the couch because my legs were too swollen and painful to walk.  We decided to climb at the sector 'chateau' (the castle).  This is one of the more popular sectors with a relatively short approach of 10 minutes and plenty of well equipped single pitch routes from levels 4 to 8c (5.0 - 5.14b). 

Sector 'chateau' overview from the parking lot
Anne warmed up in the warm sun on a nice 6b. I had decided to wait until the shade to climb as the sun was a little too warm for me.

Anne in action
She decided to continue warming up on a popular 7b+ that we both had done many times before. The climb was in the shade and after Anne had hung the draws the route looked too tempting not to try, so i just decided to give it a go. It wasn't pretty, but i made it to the top--after several falls, completely pumped. We decided to leave the draws to do another lap on it.

Anne climbing at the o so popular 'chateau'

 While Anne was getting ready to do the route again, our friend, Nico showed up at the cliff.  He is a physics teacher in Gap and a pretty strong climber to boot.  
Nico shows up at the cliff for some climbing
Nico recounted to us his recent climb of the amazingly steep and difficult 'Ali Baba'' an epic 8 pitch 8a+ (.13c) located about an hour south of Gap in Aiglun, France. With 6 pitches of 7c+ (13a) or harder, Nico was exhausted by last pitch of the climb and his only goal was to make it to the top using any means necessary.

The village of Orpierre as seen from the 'chateau'
I belayed Anne and then Nico on the 7b+ and then I got ridiculously pumped on it again.  I was dead after two tries.  Onto the next route, another 7b+ with a hard boulder problem.  I got my ass handed to me...the boulder problem felt impossible and I was falling and falling. After 5 or 6 falls, I finally made it past the boulder problem and almost didn't have enough left in my arms to make it to the top...but eventually reached the anchor. This was my 'Ali Baba' of the day.

Nico being lowered off the final route of the day

Anne and Nico decided to do one more 7c to finish off the day. I watched as the two of them did the climb using very little effort. I was exhausted, but I was determined to do one last climb. 30 minutes and plenty of falls later, I accepted the reality that I wasn't going to make it to the top. 'Lower me, I'm dead!' I exclaimed from the middle of the route. I touched down on the ground...pumped . Or as the french like to say: défoncé -- which means something like 'completly broken or destroyed'. Anne and Nico decided to do one last lap on the route...I had to pass...