Céüse was beautiful! It was demanding, many falls were fallen, many beers were emptied and many routes were send (and even more remained unfinished). I am back from my 16-day trip to Céüse and here I am sitting in the university library, finally having to work on my thesis but still too far out there to actually concentrate on what I should be doing.
We left as a group of seven eager climbers on the 14th of July and came back late last Saturday with many new ticks on our lists.
I am not going to give you the whole day-by-day or route-for-route shebang as this would be too boring for me to write or for you to read.
We arrived late into the night and went up to the huge massif de Céüse early afternoon after we had slept for a few hours but not nearly enough. Our first day was spent in the impressive sector that is the Grand Face. The approach was still gruelsome and the climbing was surprisingly hard. Nothing can really prepare you for that specific Céüse fitness or the heady run-outs that you will inevitably have to face. I was happy to put down two old projects right on my first day. While Tabernacle delivered a fair fight, Trous line went down on the first go of the day.
The plan was to climb some easier routes during the first few days and then turn to the harder objectives. More or less, it worked out that way. I climbed some easier stuff on our second day and then send my first 6c of the trip during our third day on. Les sales blagues à Nanard, a nice piece of rock in the Cascade sector with a tricky slab part just before the top. I put it down on my second go and was ready for a well deserved restday.
3 days on is just too much when you are in Céüse and we switched to the common 2 on / 1 off schedule when we had rediscovered that for ourselves.
I have to say that the grading was much stiffer than I remembered and routes didn’t go down as I hoped they would. Nevertheless, on our fifth climbing day, I was able to redpoint Gelati Dolomiti, a beautiful 7a that has almost every type of climbing you could imagine. It starts with an overhanging section, then you have to do a tricky move to get onto the slab, you traverse a little, face a hard slab move and then finish with a very dropable slopy layback edge that leads you right to the tricky clip of the anchors. This one was definitely on my list and I was very happy to do it after about 6 goes of struggle.
On climbing days 6 and 7, I laid eyes on a nice 7a+ far to the right of the massif de Céüse in the esoteric Nitshapa sector. I fought hard to get it but I just wasn’t able to link all the moves, so this one needs to wait until next time.
Four of us were pretty beat up after 7 days of hiking and climbing and we used our restday in the city of Gap to spend some time in the local climbing shop browsing through guidebooks of other crags in the area. We found the really nice Briancon climbs guide and decided to try out some of the areas described in that book.
Our last 4 climbing days were spent on 3 different types of rock. We visited two limestone, a granite and a conglomerate crag. I was able to do a 7a second go when we climbed in an amazing limestone canyon that had some of the most interesting wall structures I have ever seen. We all agreed that this one was pretty soft at 7a but hey, just take what’s in the guidebook right 😉
Other than that, I was able to onsight a really nice 6c when we ventured on granite and on top of that I had a lot – really a lot – of fun that day.
On our last evening before we left, we got to see the IFSC lead worldcup semi-finals in Briancon. This was the first time that I got to watch a climbing competition in real life. I usually watch the worldcups in bouldering on youtube but never cared for lead very much. In Briancon, however, the crowd was really great and it was awesome to see all those pro-climbers compete. We had a great evening and I would really recommend to go see a climbing worldcup in person if you never have.
All in all, it was a great trip with nice people and I enjoyed myself very much. The climbing was amazing and I got to see some new areas (I will definitely return). Of course, it would have been nice to get one or two more 7a’s or to bag a 7a+ but overall I am very happy with my climbing achievements and everything else!
Now it’s back to real life…
Cheers and have a fun summer!