We were driving a lot in the last months. Not very ecologic, I agree, but if we want to climb in a dry and warm rock we don't have other solution. So after coming back from Slovenia in the end of October and Nico from Yosemite (where he helped Vanessa Francois at her El Capitan project (Video Zodiac ), we went for a week to Verdon. Nico opened a new route there with his friend Olivier Dutel, and after all the spits were drilled, we went to check out how hard would be this stuff. First day we were quite a lot hanging on the rope, brushing the dust, finding the holds and the solutions, and we were happy to realize that everything would go free, not only for Adam Ondra, alos for the “normal” climbers. The third pitch looked the hardest, the beginning is really steep, but we found the dropknees and heelhooks permitting to hold small tuffas.
New Route in Verdon, Military Competition and Some Short Escapes from the Chamonix Winter - Martina Cufar
We had to came back three days more to free all the pitches; actually only Nico succeeded all of them. I couldn’t do the last moves of the last pitch, two pockets being too far. The last time we came back only to do the third pitch, we graded it 8b. 6h of driving from Chamonix to do one pitch sounds crazy So it was really great that despite the cold (the wall is north facing) Nico did it. I was missing some 10 degrees more Since Olivier and Nico are both funs of the metal, the name of the route is La fiesta de los metallos. The pitches go like this:L1 : « Pantera» 7b+ -35m-: The start that wakes you up! Looks easy but it's hard!
L2 : « Iron Maiden» 7c+ -35m-: A nice steep crack with tufas, pockets, some little boulder problems and a roof with big jugs at the end.
L3 : « Cannibal Corpse» 8b -30m- The crux pitch of the route. It's about 15m steep, you need quite some resistance in the first meters and then the endurance to finish the steep dihedral. Know how to hand jam can be very useful at the end.
L4 : « Accept » 7a – 25m- : A pitch for the active recovery J Finally not so steep anymore!
L5 : « Judas Priest » 8a -35m- : A crimpy boulder problem at the beginning, then nice climbing on the big holes and then an old school traverse on small pockets and no footholds. Trust your climbing shoes!
L6 : « Megadeth » 8a -35m- : Nice 7c until some meters under the top, where two pockets are far away and it's surely easier if you are taller than 170 cm. Nico loved it, it's like in Buoux!
Here you can read Nico’s story in French: Fiesta de los metallos in french
In Verdon we did visit some other sectors: we did a very nice route in Duc, Alix (7b+, 300m) and La triste lune 8a+ in Petit Eycharme, perfect wintertime sector!
On 20th and 21st of November I participated on a Military competition in Chamonix. It was fun, because we were climbing a lot! Difficulty and boulder! I surprised myself and others being 2nd in boulder! Here you can see the finals: Boulder finals
In the difficulty I was third, it's normal that Mina Markovič and Maja Vidmar come higher on such a powerful wall that is the one in ENSA gym. Mina was even better than all the boys! Congratulations!
Just after we did some short trips down south. In Chamonix we had -10 and wet rocks, so we went in Buoux and Ardeche (Autridge). Buoux was unfortunately also quite cold, the sun was hiding behing some clouds, but we managed to do some pitches without frozen fingers J We tried Les mains sales 8b, the first 8b of France. Aie aie aie, it's HAAAAARD! We didn't even come to the anchor. But was nice to cimb in it anyway.
In Autridge the style is completely different than in Buoux. It's pure endurance on colonettes! 35 to 50m long routes from 7a on.We did much more climbing meters than in Buoux. Some 7c onsight and Tete de gondole 8a in first attempt.
Now we will escape the cold and polluted air (yes, Chamonix is one of the most polluted areas in France in the wintertime!!! The camions driving through the tunnel and the heating are the reason) even more south, we go to Fuerteventura for a week! Vamos a la playa! We love the sea!