Friday, 31 July 2015

Learning my lessons in Céüse.

What can I say about Céüse?

Is it the best sport climbing crag in the world? Well I haven't seen all the competitors for the title, but it's often said that climbing is a masochistic sport, and on that basis it must stand head and shoulders above anywhere else I've been.

No place has abused and frustrated me, satisfied me, then left me begging for more the way Céüse has. Jill described her as bi-polar but that's just part of the game; like any good dominatrix she has to keep you guessing.

Nothing is given easily here. From the 45 minute hike to the crag with 400m of ascent (often in 30+ degree heat), to the bouldery cruxes and the technical top-outs it's all hard work.

Forget the stamina draining jugfests of Rodellar, the tendon shredding pockets of Margalef, and the psychological torture of a technical, run-out Finalese slab... Céüse takes all of these, parcels them up, and serves them as an entrée. If there's a weakness in your climbing she will expose it and then, if you are willing, your correction will begin.

In Chulilla, my first ever 8a redpoint went down with just four days projecting; here I took six weeks to send a 7c+ that is considered easy. In Siurana I came to expect to onsight 7a; here it's taken two months to onsight my first 6c+. On one 6c+ I had to pull on a draw to get past the crux, and come back to figure it out later. But as long as you can put your ego to the side, the high 6s and low 7s you're falling off are all astonishingly good lines - everything I´ve got on here is worth three stars.

A couple of weeks ago I nearly went home due to physical and mental fatigue, but when it came down to it I couldn't leave - I'll have to go back to the real world and make some money soon, but until then Céüse has me firmly under her spell.

Alex Megos resting on the steepness of (I think) La part du diable (8c) on the Biographie wall.
The holds got a bit smaller.

Jonathan Shen on the techy vertical start of Lapinerie (7b) at Demi lune
Matthieu Lapalus on the steep bouldery start of Bibendum (7b+)

Spring cleaning the vans and ourselves by the Lac de Pelleautier

Gorgeous sunsets from the top of Céüse plateau.

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