Start of January 2015, the winter seems to be finally here and the cold makes Gavarnie climbable..
It's a dream I never got close to.. lots of photos, lots of stories but always bad conditions - too much snow, or not enough ice..
First run with Maxime on Icefall, first level but 300m :-) amazing ice, 60m dream pitches !!
The week after, the weather forecast provides lots of snow, too much snow.. short call to my friend Charles, without hesitation we choose to go and climb the whole wall, 3 levels and the amazing route Aloïs at the very top which combine aid climbing, rock climbing to reach an hanging ice wall !! let's go..
Start early from Toulouse, 2 hours driving, 1 hour walking to the bottom of the face.. the first floor is thin and we have to combine 2 routes : start on Freezante, and cross to the right to climb another line, just in the right of the abseil-line.
Walk to the bottom of the second level. The snow is perfect and it's fast. We climb Mitologico to access the third level and after a last walk on the snow, we finally join the perfect bivouac just at the bottom of the route. Thanks to the Spanish team who terraced it :-)
Climbing with packs is harder on the shoulders.. even if we tried to carry as little as possible, packs ended up being a bit heavy..
Thanks Charles for the meal, herbal tea and what a good night :-)
The wake up is harder, the body takes his time to warm up.. making water for the coffee and the whole day..
Suddenly I saw Spanish people coming from the Sarradets refuge and we hurry up to start the climb!! I climb the first small pitch to join the real bottom of the face. Then Charles quickly climbs the first aid-pitch, maybe A1+.. rock is bad at the start, and then good crack, with some pitons.
I climb the second aid pitch, maybe A2.. it's a mix of free climbing, aid-climbing to join the belay just next to the ice :-) hook, bad pitons and small Friends.. I managed to make me light enough :-)
Now ICE !! fantastic 150m ice formations.. amazing long pitches, crazy atmosphere, really steep wall.. that's why we are here !!
Top of the route, I really like to climb with Charles !! Same motivation, same goals, same desire to for good achievements !! Thanks my friend.[youtube s2eSEGc0dhM]
Many, many abseils later, the heater is on max in the car and we drive back to Toulouse.