Several of the young GB team members are just back from a sport climbing trip to France, where they visited the crags around the Gorges du Loup area close to Nice.
Ellis Butler Barker described the trip:
"Loup is a very scenic gorge with beautiful hills and not far from the French Riviera of Nice. The most iconic crag is Deverse which currently has 6 9a's and many high 8's, it is a huge overhanging wall which has been developed by many strong locals. Mesa Verde is a vertical and slightly overhanging crag mainly on small edges and tufa's. The wall is right next to a river and has a wide range of grades.
The original plan was to spend most of our trip at Deverse but when we arrived it was clear that there was no way that this was going to happen as it was dripping wet across the entire length of the wall and only 5 routes were dry. We had to start looking for dry crags to climb on and we found Mesa Verde."
When they did find dry rock, the team made the most of it. Ellis Butler-Barker climbed New Power Generation (8b), Super Mekanik (8a), and flashed Situation Explosive (F8a).
"My first 8a was just over 5 weeks ago and my previous hardest send was F7b. The end of the trip marked two years since I started climbing, so I managed to do F8b, flash F8a, boulder Font 8a and onsight Font 7b+."
Fellow young Brit Buster Martin did New Power Generation (8b), L'Ogre (8b/8a+ - hold break possibly bringing the grade down), Walou La Voie (8a+), New 8a+ (8a+), Super Mekanik (8a), Situation Explosive (8a) and Petit Poucet Extension (8a).
Alex Waterhouse did L'Ogre (8b/8a+ - hold break possibly bringing the grade down), Walou La Voie (8a+), flashed Arrowhead (8a) and Super Mekanik (8a).
Jonny White and Will Smith also did New Power. Will also did L'Ogre and Orgasmatron (he said F8a+ for both of them).
When asked for more info on the routes, Ellis Butler-Barker told UKC:
"New Power Generation (8b at Deverse) is a very short but very powerful route on okay pockets with the odd pinch and undercut.
L'Ogre (8a+ at Mesa Verde) is an extension to Petit Poucet (F7c+) which carries on through the bouldery roof above.
Situation Explosive (8a at Mesa Verde) is another short and desperate line which has a technical slab/vertical start which then leads to a very hard moves off of awful holds to an okay sloper. Then a few more hards moves out of the overhang to an easier finish which has a potential heartbreak move just below the lower off.
Arrowhead (8a at Mesa Verde) is a long route on small holds; a very tough route to flash."
Well done guys - gret efforts!
Ellis is sponsored by Mammut , Dartrock Climbing Centre , Liquid Grip and Infinity Pro .