Into The Andes ► Episod #4 - Boulder au Cajon del Maipo

Into The Andes ► Episod #3 - Torrecillas

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Valle dell'Orco : Cracks, Granite, Pizzas... Anything else?

August 27, 2016

Before starting on the road to Italy, we made sure to stock reserves of French cheese ... but as soon as we left the supermarket, we managed to eat half the supplies for breakfast

 

If we take the expensive Mont Blanc tunnel it takes 3 hours by car from Chamonix to Ceresole Reale - a small Italian town offering access to the splendid dell'Orco valley. Or it takes 11 hours if we do not want to pay ... its an easy choice made quickly for the 9 participants (only Florence stayed to climb more time in Cham).

 

Cedric speeds ahead with his van - Jumpy - and arrives  first. He discovers a very nice place of grass near the lake Ceresole, where we set up camp. This charming and quiet town is composed of only 160 inhabitants!

Unfortunately the next morning ... around noon, the municipal police officer of this charming town informs us that camping is prohibited on this site, in fact the tents installed near the trucks are quite visible. We don't argue and disarm the camp before going to a the crag to climb a crack called "Pietra Filosofale" whose photo has attracted us. We zigzag among the beautiful uninhabited houses to find the place and, surprise ... that is not what we expected. Actually it is a huge block in the middle of a clearing only 10 meters in height with a single crack surrounded by ultra delicate face routes ... excellence! It is perfect.

Following this afternoon of vertical adveentures we find a much better place to settle: a little spot in the forest with an adjacent river ... we start off with a nice session of barbecu, music ... pure "Kife Ta Life", accompanied by  camember on the grill, all to the delight of our Argentinian friends who specialize in grilling but do not have, in their country, those very aromatic cheeses (which take your teeth off).

Video explaining what is sportive "pétanque"

 

It's time to get down to work. We find out about the crags with good cracks and we go there the following days

 

Sergent, Droide, Dado, Tramonto...

Here are names of highly recommended sectors in which we have scratched our sweet hands:

 

Now that we are sufficiently grounded in the style of climbing, we grant ourselves the right to undertake some multi-pitch climbs. But 2 days of rain are announced on the forecasts. We organize a good farewell barbecue for Denise, Daniela and Veronica who have to take off to Argentina. Coupled by Etienne and Olive, old French climbing friends that we met by chance in the valley these days, we are almost ready to throw the embers when a last surprise guest emerges: the municipal police officer! It has been a long time since we had seen him ... This time he is in civilian clothes, apparently returning from work when he happened to see the vehicle of our friends. He does not love the reunion so much. He asks us, less kindly this time, to leave the place ... it's 8:30! ... Rhooooooo! We lived in perfect harmony during these 4 days in a place that that we took care of, but this is the way it is... We headed to another place advised by Etienne and Olive.

 

The change of location is not so unfortunate as it is so beautiful despite the presence of an old abandoned crane:

In general the valley dell'Orco cliffs are not so impressive , it is in great contrast to the prominent Chamonix spiers. But after a good approach hike the climbing here is more fun! The cracs go in all directions, diverge from all sizes and form a joyous journey to the end! 

 

We are trad climbing and it is adding all the motivation  to not fall ... Some of the cracks are a bit irregular and the protection so-so-so at best! There are many a spicy runout that we encounter ... but this is the joy of trad climbing - it stimulates will power, and pushes one overcome limits. However, there is a certain "balance" between the difficulty of the route, the degree of commitment, mental capacity and physical capacity that will make the ascent remain safe. For example, if it is too difficult and you do not feel it, you put many cams... thus securing the possible fall or, in the worst case, you can aid climb on your cams.  On the contrary, if it is easy and if you feel it, you can allow yourself to climb past the protection and place it sparingly. All this forms a mathematical-chemical equation and in a way makes "Trad" climbing safe, - even safer than some equipped routes whose abusive engagement sometimes causes mental diarrhea.

 

The route chosen for tomorrow is located in the Caporal sector, it is a mix of "Orecchio del Pachiderma" and "Rattle Snake". 6 pitches at a grade that varies between 6a and 6c. The sun is there and it makes us ooze all the fat of the barbecue from the previous day

 

What a day ! A success that we happily celebrate in our camp with a good regular appetizer! We liked the climb so much that we decided to go again the next day, this time we head to the route  "Dièdro Nanchez", - a little less sustained but still graded 6a + / 6b on average.

 

A good night, a breakfast ingested, a water battle, and the team is in shape to boot. Except for our roaring Katya who decides to rest today to recover from her emotions the day before.

 

Ahhh! well done! Now we are well exhausted!

 

2 consecutive days of adrenaline ... Our vertical exploration has been successful and now we are approaching a more horizontal exploration around a beautiful restaurant table to taste good well-deserved XL pizzas

 

And we enjoyed a lot !

 

It's been almost 10 days in the lovely valley, and now it's time to take off. Obviously, one day we will return ... there is no doubt about that. But where to go now? This is the question ... There has been talk about a great party at the Verdon: "The Endemik Festival", where good reggae / ska music is lined up  ... Why not? The idea is to go slowly down to Spain ... The festival will be a good opportunity to party and discover the wonder that is the Verdon 

 

So let's go back to Verdon !!

 

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Into The Andes ► Episod #4 - Boulder au Cajon del Maipo

Into The Andes ► Episod #3 - Torrecillas

Into The Andes ► Episod #2 - Alfalfal

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