September and October are my favorite months. The air is clear and the temperatures start to drop and everything looks a little more beautiful. And friction goes up and all those little holds feel so much better.
But little holds are still feeling pretty bad. Three months in to a projected six month recovery from a finger ligament rip I still feel pain even looking at a Ravenstor crimp! So best plan is to run away. France in late September is still like the UK in Summer, and I figured being on a family holiday would distract me away from trying too hard on the amazing walls of The Ardeche.
If you have not been here this is a very ‘easy’ part of France, especially with a family. It’s pretty touristy, but for the semi-adventurous kind; with lots of rivers, walking, climbing, camping and fires on the beach kind of thing. But dead in September, we had the place to ourselves. The climbing is for everyone, 4’s to 8c. The whole place will soon be covered in the new RockFax produced by Adrian Berry.
There are two world class hard crags, Les Branches and Actinidas. And a whole heap of DWS potential! I tried to stay away, but they are too good! Perhaps taking it easy with lots of tape I could call it rehab, after all no injury will recover without gentle exercise. Obviously, being a climber I pushed it way too far, that’s what we do, pay a physio for some advice and then ignore it. I managed an 8a and an 8a+ onsight, no big deal and a warm up back in Spring, but now they felt awesome, relighting the fire and reminding me of why chilling now will all be worth it.