Sunday, September 30, 2012

A colourful day, Montagne d'Argent



Another trip to Montagne d'Argent's Grand Canyon area with Matt and Andrew. Feeling unmotivated from lack of sleep and too much wine at wedding the night before I had fairly low expectations for the day. Without any direction we defaulted to the Grand Canyon.

 After hiking up the stairs and the final hill into the Grand Canyon we were faced with a mob of high school kids. Oh joy. Further down the wall we manage to find some room under Les Acrobates de l'Espace. It was like being at the gym when there is a birthday party going on. I guess we could have moved so I should not complain too much.

Les Acrobates de l'Espace 5.7

Routes # 16 and 17 are for the most part all the same climb and it is really just choose your own adventure up the broken and blocky cracks. I stayed left for the most part. There are two pointless bolts and a set of intermediate anchors on route that are strange. First you need trad gear to get there and then they sit beside a perfectly protectable crack.  Anyway,  Les Acrobates de l'Espace is not really notable, not a total bomb but not deserving of any stars either. An ok warm-up.

Cinquante Roc-Coeurs 5.9

A left leaning crack with a number of irregular pockets taking small gear for the most part. However, there is a (hidden) #2 placement about 3/4th the way up. The moves off the deck are protectable by small nuts; I placed a #4 BD micro stopper and a #5 regular stopper. After that I placed only cams.

Despite what the guidebook shows route #18 and this route do not end logically at the anchors shown. In my opinion it makes far more sense to clip the obvious bolt (no shown in the guide) on the above slab and traverse to the upper anchors of  Les Acrobates de l'Espace 5.7. If others in your party are going to TR this route then the bolt acts as a good directional.

Garantie Prolongee 5.10a

The bottom of this route is a offwidth sized crack which was disgustingly wet but can be avoid by climbing mostly on the face. It protects well with smaller cams. The crack is straight forward climbing and leads up to the an easily clipped bolt. This is where the face/slab climbing starts on well spaced bolts. With you feet above the first bolt there are several committing moves on small holds to the second. I was very happy to clip that bolt. The third bolt is equally far, if not further, but the climbing is easier to a large ledge from which you can clip. I tried to get off that ledge possibly ten times. With each attempt I would pull on but not be able to make it to the high obvious hold and then downclimb to the ledge. Too burnt to stay on I finally came off and waited the rope. So much for an onsight.

With my determination gone I lowered off and gave the sharp end to Andrew who finished off the climb only to find no anchors. It seems routes 23,24 and 26 must share the same anchors. I would like to blame my poor showing on the wedding the night before but in the end it boils down to confidence. Basically I was tired and without being able to see the 4th bolt and knowing where to go I crumbled. Such is the onsight game.

Le Bogue de l'An 2000 5.9

The last climb off the day. This climb is typically dripping wet and so sees little traffic. This is evident from the dirt and lichen on the bottom section of the climb. I have usually skipped this route in the past for those reasons. However, with the high school kids taking over a good portion of the Grand Canyon it seemed like best option to get away from them.

The wet and dirty section of the climb just happens to be the 5.9 section. Starting off, I placed a #0 and #2 C3 in a small irregular crack. Small cams in dirty wet shallow cracks are not inspiring. Time to place more gear I thought. Jamming in gear I inched my way up the wetness through the corner feature and finally onto a fantastic ledge. The upper section of the climb was thankfully dry. If it ever dried out and with more traffic this would be a good climb.

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