Gorge du Tarn and need some time……….

I don’t know where to begin with how I am feeling about our current destination. I am super stoked to be here and excited that I am here with a couple of great people who I love dearly. I also have some misgivings about not getting some personal time with my lovely wife Karine, who is also here. We have been surrounded by our loved ones for about two months now and while it is truly fabulous to have them around, however I am missing the personal time with miss K too.

We are staying in a beautiful little village about 15 kms from Gorge du Tarn called Le Massegros. It is a very fertile area and the depth of colour in the soil here is incredible. Agriculture is the main cash crop and there are farms everywhere on the Causses (limestone plateau) above the gorge. The original bakery here is fourteenth or fifteenth century and still standing proudly functioning as a storage area.

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The incredibly rich soil of the Causses near Le Massegros.

Settling in a new area is always a bit of a hassle, but Karine and I seem to have it down to a fine art after two and half years together and being on the road travelling for about the same amount of time. We settle really quickly and have a bit of an unofficial routine that occurs. We don’t even really talk about it, it just happens.

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One of the ancient stone houses of the area….still inhabited.

Our first morning here was a bit slow. We decided that after a little inspection of the “Les Gorges du Tarn” climbing guidebook that we picked up at the local tourism office fortunately, that a late start was the best. Our crag of choice for the day was Sector Baumes Chaud. A nice spread of grades for our team of enthusiasts.

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This glorious view was ours alone for the day….no one else in sight.

The drive was beautiful with ploughed fields and pine forests escorting us through the ever winding road. We arrived at the top of the gorge to be totally blown away by its beauty. Gorge du Tarn is truly spectacular and beautiful. The diversity of fauna is incredible and the rock is just mind blowing. It is simply everywhere around you.

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Karine making her way up “Sans les mains” 6a+ (19) La Muse Sector. Photo:- Agathe Lévêque 2017.

It is quite surprising just how well the gorge climbing is managed and controlled. It is with great appreciation that I say this. I like that during some parts of the year sectors are closed for bird nesting periods and that rebolting is managed so effectively by all parties involved.

Over the past few days we have had some mild success after not really trying hard and just getting into the style of the area. It’s a super cool environment to be in and with the change of season the forest is now looking truly beautiful. The river forges its way down the gorge and you sometimes have to shout loudly to be heard at the top anchors.

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The author on “The Unknown Route” 6c+ (22) La Muse Sector. Photo:- Agathe Lévêque 2017.

La Muse Sector has been a lot of fun as there are some nice routes there to play on and the style is different from Cul de Figues Sector. La Muse is a little less vertical and more powerful at this stage. I am hoping I get enough time to work on something a little harder for me, but I have others to consider and I will take what I can get……..as we are all in this together.

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