Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chamonix/Petit Dru and more

Sometimes you just neeeed a restday.
Like one we needed today. Good weather, clouds in the mountains, bit of rain in the morning. Perfect for a restday.
We washed in the public toilets this morning, posted the usual cards to our families at home and now enjoying coffee in internet café 'Enjoy' in Chamonix.
Dennis is still at our 'home' reading a book about the history of the SAS (nice book it is, full of adventure and real stories)
The reason for this restday was the following adventure:
Petit Dru, Américaine Directe.
Dennis told me about the route Roeland never stopped talking about the thing, I know Jelle wants to climb it and we...well, we tried :)
Mission was to do a ground-up onsight attempt in a day. I had the honour to try and onsight all the difficult pitches (6a-6c/7a/7a+) We started quite late, but that was good, we figured later. It was cold, all water was frozen, even the little melting streams in the route were frozen. Later we met two experienced climbers who were forced to go down because of frostbite (they started too early, around 4 o clock)
We managed to get all the way to the big block, which is 21 rope lengths (following the English topoguide) We had to wait for two who were struggling in the next pitches. A good rest was welcome, but took us quite some time. We lay in the sun, warming up our frozen toes, fingers and water. Thirsty as we were, but we had to wait for the snow to melt...
Dennis was tired, I was tired but I wanted to do my mission: onsight the two hardest pitches of the route. So we went up, a short V up to a little bloc and then it started. A finger crack that first started with a chimney struggle behind a stuck flake. I struggled, go so out of breath because of the height but made it all the way to the belay in the middle of the long corner. Happy, tired, thirsty, hungry, one hard pitch to go! Dennis struggled his way up, carrying the little backpack and the tagline. We had to wait again for the party in front of us, but it was welcome, again. And there I went again. I screamed, tired, pumped, out of energy, and when I finally had a good fingerlock I just couldn't hold on anymore! My arms were so tired. Shit, no, fuck, kut, no I cursed to myself and had to let go. I failed! Al that climbing and then failing there! Damn!
I lost all my motivation there for a second.
It was late already, we'd had to abseil in darkness and, because I didn't do what I came for we decided to go down. We abseiled, got our rope stuck in some shit (nasty!!) got the rope stuck again, and again and finally got down...It was 12 o clock already, time for an evening meal: 'chicken with herb'. And at that time all food tastes like a four Michelin star meal.
We slept till 9 in the next morning, ate our porridge and some cereal bars and went down, over the moraines, through the swamp, and then stopping every 2 metres to eat blueberries.
We only have 10 days left. Hopefully the weather will stay good enough to try this route again or any other beautiful line.
Tomorrow rain and thunder in the forecast so time for sportsclimbing.

Pictures: Dennis & me on the Dru (sorry, couldn't flip the pictures...)

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