Maurienne, What else? (7c 400m) on the Croix des Têtes was equipped last autumn by my friend Benjamin Perrette. Since the start of the year I’d wanted to drag my trad rack up there, but unfortunately the appalling spring weather (you could’ve mistaken it for England ;-) !!) had made it hard to find dry rock. So last week, on a rare sunny day, I rang my psyched friend, Thomas, and it was on!!

After an early start and two and a half hours of walking we found ourselves at the foot of the first pitch, a 50m 7c of which the last 20m overhang. Super motivated by the prospect of climbing the line, I found a path between the pitch’s brittle holds and managed to onsight it! It was a pretty savage warm-up and my arms didn’t forget about it for the rest of the day.

Having not climbed cracks this year I struggled with my technique and had trouble finding the right jams on the second 7c pitch, eventually falling off on the last hard move of the steep crack. No matter, the other pitches were superb with an incredible atmosphere. We moved quickly, spurred on by laughter at every belay.

We found ourselves on the top at 5pm, and after an apple and a cigarette in the sunshine we left the face which had given us the sort of day we like in the mountains…

Dimitri Messina

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