Sunday, July 31, 2011

There be Goblins, Paroi oblique

Matt, Andrew and I loaded up Matt's car Saturday morning and headed to Montagne d'Argent. I really did not have plan on what I wanted to climb; I was just looking for a day on the rock. After some discussion we decide to checkout the L'hippocampe area which works with my Montagne d`Argent onsight policy.


(left) Andrew Chill'in at the base of Wunderbar. (right) Matt moving up the beginning of Gobelin
As per usual, the climb I was thinking of warming up on, L'hypothenuse 5.7+ trad,  was being climbed so we continued over some boulders toward the next crag called Paroi Oblique to have a look at Gobelin 5.7 trad. While traversing over the rubble I lost my footing. I think Andrew slowed me down a bit by grabbing my backpack and I manage to grab the top of the rock as I slid off into the abyss. Not the greatest start to the day. A scuffed side, bleeding knee, shin and elbow and I had not even started climb yet.  Anyway, The path up to Paroi Oblique was heavily vegetated and over grown with raspberry bushes. I'm not sure how many people visit this area but given the overgrowth it cannot be a lot.   


Me leading up Gobelin

Gobelin, a 18m 5.7 gear route, is comprised of an awkward mix of chimneying, offwidth squirming, chalkstones and loose rock. You will need some big cams on this route, I put in a couple BD #3s and a #4. It would have be nice to have a second 4 instead of having to sling a chalkstone for pro. It was solid in the downward direction but I would not have wanted to test it. This is perhaps not a good route for a new 5.7 climber or a new trad climber. One plus of Gobelin is that it sees almost no sun which makes it a great for hot summer days.     

(left) Me looking for holds. (right) Matt in the offwith section of Gobelin and Sevrage's bolt line.


Sevrage, 5.10b sport (5 bolts), runs up the slabby face beside Gobelin. The route is hard crimping with a tricky to read crux between the 3rd and 4th bolt. I downclimbed three or four times to a rest position at the third bolt while looking for holds and working out my sequence. After the 4th bolt the climbing eases on to the 5th bolt and then finishes on Gobelin's anchors. Note that it is a tad run out to the anchors after the 5th bolt.  

Next up was Goglu, another 5.10b sport route. The guide shows 5 bolts but there are only 4 over this 15m climb which made it feel a bit spooky. Goglu is totally different than Sevrage. Sevrage is a cryptic slab with little moves on crimps and smears whereas Goglu has an obivous sequence of powerful moves on well spaced holds. Goglu is an easy onsight compared to Sevrage, a fun climb though.     

After deciding Oreo, a 5.5 trad route, was too dirty to bother with we TRed Fudge 5.10c. I climbed it clean. I should have just lead it instead of letting doubt and tiredness convince me not too. All and all a good day.

Paroi Oblique turned out to be a fun area which we had to ourselves all day. That is certainly not something you would expect on a long weekend. Also, as I mentioned above, the area does not see much sun and we climbed in the shade all day.

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