After Maine, and a few days at home, I got the word that Bristol-based loud-mouth Ollie Benzie was driving down to Ceuse and after not climbing as much as I wanted to in Newfoundland I was really keen to touch as much rock as possible. There seemed like no good reason not to stop off in Ceuse for a few days before moving on to Chamonix. For one reason or another a few days turned in to two weeks. In those two weeks I turned from a very unfit climber to a not so unfit climber. On day one I failed to onsight the warm up (7a+), by day seven I managed to onsight 7c+. Perhaps it was because I started off with such low fitness, or perhaps it’s the nature of the place, either way it was nice to see progression in 7 days. And in those two weeks, Ceuse also became my favourite place to sport climb.
The two things I’d heard about Ceuse before going were that ‘the easier grades are harder’ and ‘when it rains it doesn’t matter because things stay dry’. Both those things are quite far from being true; 6a at Ceuse is still easier than 7a (along with everywhere else) and when it rains, almost everything gets wet. On the assumption that the latter rumour was true we walked up in torrential rain, to learn the hard way, that it wasn’t. We sessioned the only vaguely dry route whilst trying our best to avoid a seepage line and waterfall that narrowly missed all the crucial pockets.
What is true is that the climbing is amazing, there are lots of friendly people (perhaps too many), the walk-in really isn’t very bad (until it gets too hot), the bolting could often be described as spacious and it feels a lot harder than sport climbing in Spain. I think it has become my favourite sport crag because of the style of climbing (got to love the two finger dragging in the pockets) and the run-outs. Usually I get bored of sport climbing after a while, but its hard to get bored when you’re taking 30 footers. Routes that really stand out were Blockage Violent, Femme Noir, Mirage and Little Big Wall. With mileage being the main aim I was reluctant to project something, but I would love to go back next summer and try some harder stuff.