Sunday, June 10, 2018

of Gneiss and Men

(an average day out climbing with friends)

just a sample of the wild and famous bunch known as ACS: Ariege Climbing Scene!
Futuna loves a good pun every now and then - don't be too hard on him, for he was really happy (and proud) with this title and he could easily be hurt. Anyway, since we bought this big nice ruin, we ain't been doing much more than working on it. So, any activity that takes place OUT OF the house and does NOT involve gloves, tools, lime and wood beams is - indeed - an adventure and a big thing! Moreover, if it happens to be our ONE AND ONLY climbing day of the whole year 2018 (so far... summertime is coming, optimism is still allowed!), we cannot NOT make a short post about it. There we go:

The weather forecast was excellent, quite a nice team had confirmed attendance on the FB group's weekend thread and a suitable crag had been selected: not too far away, a short, flat approach walk, some shade and enough space for everyone to climb, belay, chill, eat or even nap, a decent number of gentle, nice and very enjoyable routes on a beautifully sculpted Gneiss and in the perfect grades' range for easy, social climbing (5-ish to 6b, with a couple of 7's for the braves). The name of this seemingly perfect crag? Junac, in the gorgeous valley of the Vicdessos river, overlooked by the 3.000m peaks of the Ariège - Montcalm, Pique d'Estats and Pic Verdaguer. Would you be looking for a crag that meets your requirements and matches your climbing desire, we can only recommend that you visit this amazing website from the Club Alpin Français des Montagnards Ariègeois (the French mountaineering association's local bureau), which comprehensively lists ALL local crags, for both sports' beasts and multipitch lovers (and some stuff for boulderers, too). But it's been enough talking already: let's climb!
so, featuring in a random order so as to respect everybody's right to keep living anonymously in the Ariège: a representative sample of the ACS: Sam, Graham, Tom, Eila, Steve, Ben, Alfredo, Chris, Amelia and Billy the goat!

While Wallis mostly seized these magical moments of the day, we all climbed and chilled until mid-evening. Knowing you don't have to walk long to get back to the cars, you can make the day last a bit more... And the perspective of a late evening with beers and friends only makes it more enjoyable! Hopefully, we'll get more chances to go out and play over the next months. Hopefully we're lucky enough that our friends kidnap us from the house renovation project!
Anyway, if you ever get to climb in the Ariège, you can always consider buying some of the many climbing guidebooks, a.k.a. "Topos" published and republished over the years... It's nice and at least part of the money goes back where it belongs: in the piggybanks of the routesetters and cragkeepers, so they can keep doing what they love and what we enjoy so much: nice, safe and maintained outdoor climbing routes!
But would you have any doubt, question or just need a last minute beta or info on a route or crag, make sure you have some internet and go visit you're pretty sure to find up-to-date, accurate and clear information, often first-hand from the local equippers! Here's the Junac's topo, just as you can find it for free on their website.

That's all for today. Take care, stay safe and you know the rule:
Work less, climb more and enjoy the summertime (in the Pyrenees)!

the topo, as issued, updated and displayed for free on the CAFMA's website!

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