15th June 2013
Ariege – Auzat
Tomio – 4 – Second
Roxanne – 5+ – Second
Dure Limite – 6b – Lead (dgg’d)
Chippie – 5+ – Second
Grimsel – 6a – Second
Bassine – 5+ – Lead
La Sabine – 5+ – Second
This was to be a final busy day climbing. We returned to Auzat, a favorite of ours over the trip, but this time to the main sector.
I had it in my mind that this would be the day I tried an 6b and so it turned out. After a getting warmed up on a couple of routes we ended up at the base of a fierce looking crack. With my confidence high I set about tackling the first section which went well until the traverse. This stopped me in my tracks and despite trying to force myself through it by shear will power I couldnt get it wired.
Chris stepped up and made the move that I had struggled on so badly only to come unglued at about 2/3’s height through the shear strenuousness of the route. However he got himself back on and finished the route for a great first 6b for the team.
Tom after initially struggling on the same move as I had, then proceeded to climb the route which left me in a real dilemma. I needed to lead it again… despite being a bit bollox’d. So once again I set off to tackle the crux moves, which laughed at me as I peeled off, level with the second bolt having run out of steam. The fall was exciting to say the least, with me finishing a few feet off the ground and Chris having to work hard to catch me. (Many thanks Chris).
By this time I was seeing red and I’d decided I was going to get this done if it was the last thing I did… which was a possibility if I kept taking falls like that. Reaching the same point as I had previously I moved a few feet higher so I could lock out on a good juggy hold and clip the second bolt to my relief. Yee haaa… at last. Mind you the effort of getting here meant I had little left for the remainder which I unashamedly dogged all the way to the top. Sometimes its the finishing that counts, not the way you do it. Elegant I was not!!!
The three remaining climbs of the day were all crackers. They are all on the same face and all given loads of stars and quite rightly. Each has its own character but all are challenging. Tom’s final lead on Sabine (probably the best of the three) was a job well done and probably his toughest lead of the trip.
So with everyone absolutely spent we returned to Tarascon for a final Leffe in the beer garden and a chat with two travellers heading for a party in Spain. Cool road trip.
I think we will be back to Ariege next year. There is so much climbing, and the area so beautiful it will be hard to resist. Next time it will be with Dave so that he too can experience the beer and cheese.