The last one honest.
With Nik out of action and it safe to venture out to climb again, Darren and I headed out to Pylon and dropped Adrian and Jamie off on the 3rd attempt. Better planning next time guys.
Anyway, Darren and I walked into Plyon and geared up, while a couple of chaps from Grenoble finished there first route knocking loads of stuff down, but unlike the Spanish days before, they made lots of very clear early calls.
The weather was noticeably warmer and on leading the first pitch this was confirm. Whilst Darren and I debated continuing up after I had had a good look and got soaked in the process, the French chaps joined us from above on the belay.
A short and comical exchange and it was decided that today valor needed to be shouldered and discretion heeded. We lowered off. I then lead the other side through the steepest line on soft wet ice and made my way to the belay.
At this point the French chaps waved, wished us well and departed. I wondered out to the start the final pitch, place a screw that was immediately turned into a spout. Hmmm! Darren and I deliberated for a little while and I pressed on a bit. We chatted a little more and we decided to shoulder arms and head back to the gite for a beer.
Lowering off, the ropes got tangled, so I had to climb on very thin ice, scratching tool placements to regain the belay ledge and the ab off. The ice and technique I had just encountered reminded me of Andy Kirkpatrick at one of his lectures explaining a lead that Ian Parnell had done and the fact that they had to sim-climb to complete the pitch. Admittedly, they are faaar better climbers than me and didn't have a belay and were climbing much harder.
As promised we returned to the gite for a beer.
Saturday, the last day before the long drive home. What do do?
We dropped Adrian and Jamie off at the base of a road side route and headed for a dry tooling boulder that Jim knew of, Nik, Cat, Darren, Jim and I.
On arrival Jim and I quickly rigged a few ropes and we proceeded to climb some of the routes and Jim and I tried a project that Jim had been working and both got shut, but not without a fight. We eventually retired and headed back to the gite for the final night.
Left, I fight with the project and right, Jim practices some moves before clean this route eliminating the wooden holds. (Photos by: Nik)
The week had been a fairly successful week for all, with the exception of Nik's hand and another group members ankle getting broken. Thanks to Dave and Rich for organising the accommodation and food, and thanks to all for the great company and brilliant stories.