Easter in Orpierre

By Ann Jamm
Days 1 & 2: not a good start. Climbing at Chateau on the bank holiday weekend was a mistake – the whole of Europe was queuing for routes. Have taken local advice, bought the local guide book and looking for quieter spots.

Day 3: Set off early to Les Blaches – Eternel feminin area. Had the crag to ourselves so devoured 6-8 single pitch routes in quick succession. Crowds started arriving in the afternoon so we descended and rewarded ourselves with a beer in the village square.

Day 4: Itching for multi-pitch but not yet up to the big classics (Diedre Sud, Brazil etc.) so headed for Ascle & two 90m routes. The first ‘Maitre de la Danse’ a very straightforward 5b but with an airy traverse, the second ‘Malkuth’ a more challenging 5c+, requiring ‘French strategies’ on my part.

Day 5: a single pitch day at “4 heures” crag. By now we’re into a rhythm – away by 8.30, climbing by 9.30, crag to ourselves, a spot of lunch, keep going til the heat or crowds get too much, and retreat to the bar for a relaxing beer.

The Pinnacle Club are well represented on this FRCC/CC meet in Haute-Provence. At least a dozen members are here, scattered around the campsite in chalets, tents, and camper vans. Four of us are sharing a chalet, which has the social advantage of attracting the campers in particular – on an evening they coming looking for warmth and company with a glass or bottle in hand.

The climbing – sport limestone – I’ve found hard for the grade (not unusual for me – see Portland blog), but it’s been a fun, sociable Easter.