/ Verdon - what trad gear for La Demande?
Would you advise leaving any of: full set of nuts (1-10), micronuts (5 pieces), cams 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2 (already left camalot size 3 at home..), smaller cams (4 pieces)
I guess there is not even a point in thinking about leaving the twin ropes at home at just taking a 60m single?
The route is hard for the grade and quite sustained, worth f6b.
we did it on a single rope and it was perfect, theres really no need for half ropes unless you plan on retreating which is tricky anyway. its quite well bolted for the most part, leave the small gear behind, i remember placing a couple of larger nuts and maybe on or two medium cams. its a good route, take care on the first pitch as its very polished, and if you run the first two pitches together as we did- take care leaving the ledge at the start of the second pitch as theres not much gear until the first bolt- if you go for it it will be fine.
i agree with martin about the grade, rope wise you cant go wrong with taking half ropes, the reason we didnt was to go a bit quicker with a bit less rope faff!
i found it hard work because my hydration bladder leaked and i didnt have any water on the route- my partner led the last 3 pitches because i was cramping. take 2-3 litres of water each and you'll be fine if its hot, its quite a sheltered and not hugely exposed route
I'd just take 1-10 wires for the lower finger crack pitch. I think we only placed a couple here even though there are bolts it just felt a bit insecure.
The rest of it felt fine just on the bolts.
Oh yeah, A couple of slings too for trees near the top.
Brilliant route, enjoy!
As said you certainly don't need micronuts. The rest - well, personally I'd take a full set of nuts and about, say four friends.
A single rope will be fine if you're happy climbing in that style.
The route is absolutely nowhere near 6b, certainly when compared to the average Verdon face climb. There is a single fairly well-bolted pitch low down which is about 6a, a not-so-well-bolted pitch in the middle up some snaking cracks which is HVS or so and on which it is possible to take the wrong line (this is how Ron Fawcett's soloing nightmare happened), and some chimneys higher up which are about Severe by British gritstone standards, but will feel harder if you're useless at chimneys, as the above posters evidently are. The main difficulty with them is bridging out 20 feet or so from time to time to clip the bolts, which have been put in completely the wrong place by idiot Frenchmen who can't thrutch.
On the other hand, of course, it's a long way with everything that implies.
Regardless of the grade its a great route and you should have no problems on it.
I did it a couple of years ago and got within 4 pitches from the top on a single when big storm hit. We had to retreat and it was much more difficult on one rope. I would go as far to say it was dangerous. The route traverses more than you realise and the abseil on a single rope is hard. It got stuck a few times. In a lightening storm it was not fun retrieving it. The forecast the day we did ot was for sun and we did it in a settled period.
It felt about e1 and very polished until all hell broke loose.
Ula actually felt easier to me although I led through on that but was leading all of La demande.
> The main difficulty with them is bridging out 20 feet or so from time to time to clip the bolts, which have been put in completely the wrong place by idiot Frenchmen who can't thrutch.
So true! Definitely the crux for me was getting to the bolts. I was trying to stay as deep in the chimney as possible (I have a terrible aversion to being scared). My mate who had done those pitches in the past said it felt much more reasonable bridging out all the way for the chimney pitches.
Climbed it twice, the first in the 70s soon after Livesey/Sheard first described it in the mags. Not a bolt in sight then, one peg low down in the chimneys and the advice was to be brave and go nowhere near their depths. Unprotected British 5b we reckoned, and coming on top of a lot of sustained climbing they felt like the crux. Again in the 80s when the first couple of pitches had a few bolts.
Don't be fooled by JCM's assertion that the chimneys are Grit severe - they ain't. Bolts or no bolts you will be overjoyed to grasp the tree at their top!
>and the advice was to be brave and go nowhere near their depths.
>Don't be fooled by JCM's assertion that the chimneys are Grit severe - they ain't
Well of course they aren't if you bridge daintily up the outside!
I've done this four (or is it five) times, most lately last year. For what it's worth:
I'd take doubles/twins or a very long skinny single.
Last time we took a light rack, some small nuts were used on the rib variant on the first pitch into the chimneys, (better to stay in the flare next to the bolts), and a red and gold camalot were used in the chimneys.
I thought the crux the penultimate ramp pitch and that it was a slick 6b. (Photo in the gallery)
If you aren't up for some slopey back and footing, then the penultimate chimney pitch (up to the tree) can seem a bit runout.(Photo in the gallery).
The top half is in the shade....
It is a great adventure, and quite physical, but fun. The belays are all good and there's usually a bolt close to the hard bit on each pitch.
Probably less than mine; it was a while back. What has stuck in my mid was the run out nature of the bolt-free chimneys (as I said, just the one peg low down and no cams in those days). We made the same mistake as Ron IIRC and found it very exciting. I think Livesey gave it E1 or 2, and the French TD with ULA TD+. On that first trip we also did Peril Rouge, Lunabong, Eperon Sublime and I think Nechonimicron. There might have been the odd mickey mouse bolt but they were all very much trad routes in those days.
funny, i'd agree with iain and livesy on the grade. john seems to be a bit full of himself for someone that only climbs e7
Well, they're quite big chimneys, say about 40 feet from the back to the front, widening towards the outside. So you can either back and foot up in a sedate kind of manner towards the inside, or bridge up elegantly further out. The former is easier assuming you can do this sort of thing, but the latter is where the bolts are.
But hell, it's 8 pm and you're climbing in the Verdon tomorrow. The time for beta is over.
I do wonder whether some of the posters who think this is 6b have ever climbed what one might call proper Verdon 6b.
> Probably less than mine; it was a while back. What has stuck in my mid was the run out nature of the bolt-free chimneys (as I said, just the one peg low down and no cams in those days). We made the same mistake as Ron IIRC and found it very exciting. I think Livesey gave it E1 or 2, and the French TD with ULA TD+. On that first trip we also did Peril Rouge, Lunabong, Eperon Sublime and I think Nechonimicron. There might have been the odd mickey mouse bolt but they were all very much trad routes in those days.
We did ULA in preference to La Demande and I've always wondered if we'd gone for the right route with ULA being 20m shorter. I'm sure we took a set of nuts, this would have been mid 80's
'I do wonder whether some of the posters who think this is 6b have ever climbed what one might call proper Verdon 6b'
I think he gave it 5a and 5.10.
There is a photo of that page of Livesey's book in my CdA guide which I don't have here. Me and GP thought HVS 5a - long before it was bolted.
I thought it about that in 76, but I don't now........
> I think he gave it 5a and 5.10.
You're probably right Chris, and we were certainly climbing far harder than HVS at the time, but my impression was that given the length, sustained climbing, particularly above 1/2 way, and above all the heat, it felt more like E! or 2. Both times I led every pitch so was quite knackered by the time we reached the bomb bays.The key IMO to climbing on multi-pitch Sun Rock is timing to make the most of the cooler mornings or evenings. 2nd time on LD we started at dawn and were off the route before midday (and also arranged an extra car at the top!)
I'm not sure Livesey's book had been published so we used the torn out pages from his or Sheard's magazine article, and got further beta from some French guys at the campsite. The route, as the name suggests, was considered a major undertaking in those days, and probably still is if you are more used to single pitch HVSs.
What you and Chris are missing, Iain, is that the Verdon is in France. Here, rock climbing doesn't start till grade 7 and 7a, 7b and 7c are warm-ups. 8a, 8b and 8c are to be onsighted, 9a is a short term project and 9b long term. Discussing if something is HVS or E1 is largely irrelevant as it equates to 6a or 6b and therefore is the way down.
We did most of the classic longer routes back then. Left the tent in La Palud in rock-shoes with rope rack and harness. Hitched down to Point Sublime, treked through the tunnels (usually getting wet feet on the way) - do the route, then hitch/walk back to town for a beer!
I don't recollect carrying any spare clothes, water etc - just a few sweets in the chalkbag.
I realize that Jon. We were just scrambling back in the day! Of course it's just the same over here, on-sighting a new E3 at Carn Gowla is basically a Via Ferrata without the ferrata! Now where have I put my EBs?
> Left the tent in La Palud in rock-shoes with rope rack and harness. Hitched down to Point Sublime, treked through the tunnels (usually getting wet feet on the way) - do the route, then hitch/walk back to town for a beer!
> I don't recollect carrying any spare clothes, water etc - just a few sweets in the chalkbag.
Aah but you were well 'ard. Chalk, very naughty.
> I'm not sure Livesey's book had been published so we used the torn out pages from his or Sheard's magazine article,
From John's - Crags #10: "The Demande is a superb route up a leftward-trending crack which gradually straightens to a long chimney line. The guide suggests a leftward traverse from the lower crack which involves HVS climbing, but it is possible to stay in the crack all the way and enjoy a sustained VS to the top."
"Ok - I have VS from the gentleman at the back....Any advance on VS?....I'm selling at VS, ladies and gentlemen...."
It took you an hour and a half to get up to the attic and find that Ian!
No - moved them all downstairs when I started to worry about the weight; I live in the attic and didn't fancy waking up airborne.
Don't tell me, I'm just a scribe; specifically, one that hasn't done the route in question!
> Don't tell me, I'm just a scribe; specifically, one that hasn't done the route in question!
Never shoot the messenger. I back down under the weight of such distinguished and venerable opinions as expressed above. It was is and ever will be a path at Grit Severe and I must have been having an off day!
Ian: you must do it. Easyjet to Nice will carry our zimmers FOC on production of a bus pass.
Yes, Iain - but who's going to carry me?
It was bolted in the Summer of 1990.
It was a better route without bolts: I thought the entire point of the route was the unprotectable (but very safe, provided you keep your head) chimney pitch.
In UK grades, in its original state, E1 5a would sound about right to me. There is no way it is French 6b.
> Yes, Iain - but who's going to carry me?
I'm sure Jon can find us a couple of 9a+ heroes who would be happy to oblige on a mere 5+.
BTW Jon, whenever I cross the ditch for a wee bit of Gallic sunshine, I frequently descend 8b. A free abseil is so much more comfortable on the old joints.
He never finds any when I go to visit! Mind you, there was once this gnarly-looking moufflon at Gietroz that looked up to the job; unlike Menet its legs were not only picturesque but also distinctly symmetrical. Jon can probably provide a picture.
Ok; hands up, mea culpa, etc - it's spelt mouflon. And, now I recall, it could have been a bouquetin. Maybe sheep/goat-type-thing-with-big-horns would have been simpler.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=115783 He's an ibex.
I knew it! I just ******* knew it! Show them a ***** goat and they think they know all the ******s.
Good idea, I reckon we could get sponsorship from Saga, Stannah Stairlifts or Green Cow, world famous makers of fine chamomile teas.
Most of the hard bits are bolted. The only gear I can really remember placeing were some medium cams. Its more like sustained HVS in feel than anything else.
We had a set of Rocks and two medium cams; and were definately well overgeared for the route.
Knowing that we only had 1 day to try the route, and that the forecast was for rain starting around 2pm, we did the approach in the dark and started at the base of the route just before sunrise, around 7:30.
Nuts and cams were useful, if I were (and we’re going to!) do it again, I would take fewer nuts, leave the small (<1) cams at home and perhaps take 2 of each #1, #2 camalots.
Knowing that we still had 4 or 5 pitches ahead of us, I guess the actual crux was still higher up?
Not really, I don't think there really is a crux - just more of the same !
The pitch up to the tree (which goes a way beyond) is the penultimate one. There's a photo of it in my gallery. The one of Graeme with the bag dangling is looking down from the belay below the tree pitch.
You can reach the bolts while back and footing, it's not that awkward. The chimney used to be nasty, because back in the day there was one peg, just above the belay, and you then ran it out to the tree!
You can see it's a bit flared and the footholds slope away a somewhat, so it can feel insecure, just press hard and you'll be ok ;-)
The crack is 7 to 8 inches wide methinks with an interior like sharp Broccoli - you would want a neoprene suit to jam it! I don't think anyone ever would, or would take a cam.
If you got as far as you did you will get up it, but there's a couple of burley pitches still ahead.
I would take a torch though. We had to retreat due to weather and it wasn't funny walking through the tunnels in rock boots stubbing your toes on boulders
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