I’d always wanted to go to Gorges Du Tarn. It looks so pretty in photos, and as Spain was getting a little hot it seemed like a good destination. I also knew that good friends from Bristol were there.
I was still searching for a project, but once again I didn’t find one. There were just so many 7c-8a+ to do. The style is mainly pocketty and LONG. There are a lot of pitches between 50 – 70m. This seems amazing on paper, but when your 60m up with hideous rope drag that makes V0 moves feel like V3, you sort of start craving a good old 20 metre pitch.
The actual valley is really nice, with sleepy, cute french villages dotted along it. The local people there are also ridiculously friendly and super keen to recommend routes.Since I failed to find a project I was pretty happy to onsight my first 8a, Les ailes du désir. I did the 8a to the right second try, and it felt like I could have onsighted it, so I saved the other one for when I was fresh. It felt really easy. I took a long time on it, but only because I didn’t want to read something wrong and botch the moves. I also felt like I could recover on nearly all the holds, which felt nice.
It’s funny I’ve always thought it would be nice to onsight 8a, and I felt like I could quite easily with a little forearm stamina. But it felt so easy that it didn’t seem like much of an achievement. I tried to flash an 8a at Regina, Terredets and it was a whole different experience: I went all out, fighting the pump, flailing and screaming, right to the very end. Although I was annoyed to fall at the last hard move, it felt like much more of an achievement because I really gave it everything. Anyway it’s sort of interesting because it shows that what your proud of often doesn’t really correlate with actual success.