Monday, 3 September 2012

Going "Abus" in Gorges du Tarn!

Gorges du Tarn is back in play! And its all about "ABUS Routes!"
In fact Tarn has never been out of play its just been on the back-burner due to the lack of a dated topo and the huge re-bolting project, but the area has never been closed.

I have a few thoughts on Tarn...

First its 12 years since the last topo was published. Climbers not respecting the area is one reason this has kept back publishing a new topo. An other reason is the fact that it needed to be re- bolted. That has now been done. But its not FREE as many climbers seems to think. Its costed 104.000 Euros to re-bolt and a hundreds of man hours to make that happen. Some old areas are not in the new topo, respect that as FFME has most likely not secured agreements with the landowners.

The new topo is in in French, English, German, Italian and Spanish. The pictures are super good and plenty of new stuff to do. Tarn is all about the "Abus" for me! Abus is the local term for the long and committing routes that are plus 60 meters. You climb this routes ground up in one pitch using a "Tarn" specific technique and PLENTY of quick draws.

 The grading. 

Well this is a sensitive topic... No shit... And its very personal how grades apply to different individuals. In the new topo I noticed that the über popular "Moules frites" has been downgraded to 7c+ from 8a. It was talk last summer of down grading "Premiers choux fleurs" from 8a+ to 8a. I would have disagreed with that! A few other routes have been down graded like "Mosaik man" and that is more like it I think . What I find after trying some of the 8a:ish "Abus" routes is that the routes on "Tenessee" have "survived" any downgrading and quite frankly that is surprising to me. Compare "Premiers choux fleurs" to "Les ails du désir" or to an other 8a "Au temps d'avant" on "De Que fas Aqui" and you are miles apart in terms of difficulty. The two 7b+ on "Tenessee", "Une cologne derriér les versus" and "Les ails du désir" are both soft and in my opinion more of 7b. But I might be off. The same with "Pyromania" 7c+ its just not consistent with how other routes are graded to keep it at 7c+. When it comes to "Les ails du désir" 8a part of the grade must come from the huge flights you get if you fall off. If that route had 3 or 4 more bolts it would most likely not be much more than a 7c. But this is me speculating. Any way this is semantics and not important only interesting to me and this is my thoughts. I lift my hat and say CHAPEAU to the friendly crew in Gorge du Tarn. Thanks for all the hard work and the amazing climbing you have created. Its truly a unique place where chipping is rare! Keep it that way!

© Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved David Falt