All plans need a good back up and looking at the weather forecast, it looked like we were going to need one.

Scotland was going to be blasted by high wind and rain for at least four days, so the chance of doing Aonach Eagach was as slim as finding it fun. So we talked of Pembroke, and the south west, but eventually settled on France. We booked the ferry and pointed the front end of Malcolms car towards Burgundy.

I’ve climbed a lot in France, mostly in the south, so this was going to be new to me, there was even a promise of some bolted Granite, which I’ve only ever climbed in Malaysia, Clip stick and wiregates at the ready and Jingos guide, we drove through the darkness.

The first Crag was to be Vieux Chateau, a granite outcrop, so we found the Campsite in Toutry, threw up the tent and slept til 11am.

The sky was bright blue and there was only a tiny breeze as we walked in to the crag, a lovely isolated spot by a small river, most of the routes southerly facing and still drying from some rain.

Day1 – Vieux Chateau (see pic below)

 

Riding the Wild Escargot 4c ( see pic below)
Lapin 5a
Escargot of Love 5c
Mutant Ninja Escargot 6a

Just as I got to the Crux of the last route, clearly easier than 6a as I cruised it with a river running across it…the heavens opened and soaked us both… so we had to devise ways of drying the gear and getting in the car without making even that wet! Then Found a Bar in Epoisse and played chess and drank beer and wine.

 

Day 2

We Left it late again to afford more drying time to the rope and shoes and headed south towards Beaune and Limestone, the air noticeable hotter. We stopped at Semure en Auxios http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semur-en-Auxois which was lovely and sold some rather good coffee… worth a visit and not far off the A6…

 

Cormot Day 1

The French have this really annoying way of telling you just too late that the road ahead is closed, which seems to be habitual all the way through from Paris to Biarritz and we found yet another road shut in Cormot le Petit, two of the three campsites in Nolay closed but also some stunning rock… 40m pitches corners, cracks towers and thin, thin slabs.. a nice easy walk in and generally well bolted routes.

Day 2

We Left it late again to afford more drying time to the rope and shoes and headed south towards Beaune and Limestone, the air noticeable hotter. We stopped at Semure en Auxios http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semur-en-Auxois which was lovely and sold some rather good coffee… worth a visit and not far off the A6…

The heat and lack of sleep steered us back to the Campsite for Wine Chess, cheese and rest, deciding at return early to tackle

Captain Fantastique 6a and then a classic crack to work on my jamming… La J’Maupoil en Tete 4c which was an interesting route easy but not obvious.

For the second half of the day we headed back north to escape the heat find Malcs lost Pawn and visit Rochers du Parc, Which has a fearsome reputation for being polished and crowded, which it was, but we both found the routes good fun and occasionally terrifying, run out and very, very polished… but if you were clever, you ignored the big polished holds and used the small pockets,

Le Condensateur – either 4b from the left or 5c+ from the right as I did it. Didn’t seem that hard? But most likely a mistake in the guide book…

 

La Bouchere 6a which was hilarious..

Edelweiss 5c (pictured) which was quite hard for the grade.

I was also amazed at how few climbers wear hard hats these days, you only have to look down to see how often rocks fall off the cliffs, even ones so clean and gardened as heavily as Rochers du Parc.

All in all, it was a great trip, plenty left to go back for and lots more wine and cheese to eat… and we were both glad for the beta stick as it’s always nice to know that you don’t have to worry about not making the first bolt and we’ve all slipped on easy routes as well as hard and some of the bolts were unpleasantly high….

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