The Rockfax team spent last week in the Ariège region of France working with John and Anne Arran (of Chez Arran) on a new guidebook to this wonderful area. We were lucky to get some great weather for the most part with plenty of sun without it getting too hot. We stayed at The Forge run by Dan Kinnaird - ClimbAriege - which made a great base for this large group.
Chris Craggs, and Sherri, have been out in the area for the last few months working on the guide and they showed us around the various crags. One of the area’s great appeals is the diverse rock and climbing found with granite slabs and overhanging tufas within a few miles of each other, and long multi-pitch expeditions both bolted and trad within easy reach.
The climbing highlight for me was an ascent of L’Intégrale d’Anaïs on Sinsat. This 12 pitch route tackles three tiers of the crag and involves some superb slab pitches, easy connecting pitches, one gnarly off width and a crux at the top that wasn’t. I carefully manipulated the leads so that Jack Geldard got the crux pitch but it turned out that it was dead easy and I had already done the hardest pitch lower down! We made pretty quick time although it was still 6 hours car-to-car and the walk-down descent is a horror show – best abseil now that the route is properly equipped.
The new Ariège guidebook is due for publication later this year and we will have some more news about that shortly.