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Ariege - October 2019
Climbing with friends in the Ariege October 2019

 Lordat, a north facing crag to hide from the sun. Alison climbing a stunning 6a+  and again  We treally should have climbed this route but instead went bush-whacking trying to find the other Lordat crags. 90 mins later we'd ended up back at the car and no crags had been found, oops.  Mike climbing La Voie des Peres Tranquilles at Calames.  View from the top of the routes at Calames  Early morning approach to Sinsat. Our plan had been to climb all the way to the top, 11 or 12 pitches in total.  Mike on pitch 2 of Smilla, still 9 pitches to go...  Fiona at the top of the first pitch of Le Plaisir du Geste. The Integral has various combinations possible so as Mike and I had climbed this route before we did Smilla and Fiona and Al did the slightly harder route.  The next section continues up Jeanne or one of various other routes up this part of the face. Jeanne is meant to be 6a+, 6a, 5c.... however we managed to take the 6b+ variant on pitch 2...  After 6 pitches and nearly 5 hours of climbing we realised there was no way we'd have enough time to finish the climb (5 or 6 pitches to go!) in daylight so abseiled. The 6a+ pitch on Jeanne was pretty blooming hard and we'd found the 6a to be desperate. On the abseil we realised we'd actually done the 6b+ alternative to the 6a pitch in error so felt a lot better.  Looking back at Sinsat at the end of the day  With a slightly dodgy forecast on the Friday we headed about 60 mins south towards Andorra/Spain. We found a very chilled granite crag called Falaise du Ques. There are about 20 odd routes up to 6c+ on lovely granite. It was sunny and lovely and Kenny, Mike and I had a very chilled day eating apples from the trees at the base of the crag with a stop for ice cream and pastries at the bakers on the way back.   Kenny on the lovely granite.  And again  Crag shot  Snake, an Asp Viper we believe. Kenny nearly picked it up.... thankfully it was pretty dozey as not fully warmed up by the sun.  Falaise du Ques with apple trees at the base  With a good forecast for the Saturday we headed higher up to some multi-pitch climbs at Contrefort de la Madelon. The drive up had been pretty wet and we thought we might have to turn around. However, once above the clouds the rock was dry and great views etc. This is a aiew of Etang de Soulcem from the walk in to the climbs - 15 mins tops.  Fiona climbing the first route of the day, a 5 pitch route (Les Lourds Entre Eux) with a truly brutal crux. Pitch 3 has a 6a+ section (more like 6b) that is steep as!!! I slipped (unexpectedly) at bolt 3 ending up dangling head first. After recomposing myself I headed back up and did the move. The first 4 bolts are all loose/spinning and everyone else we saw on the climb aided it. Ignorning those 4 bolts the rest of the climbing was very good but the abseils with lots of climbers were a bit of a pain - best to take  2 x 50m ropes to minimise the number of abseils needed.  View of Etang du Soulcem once the clouds had lifted and the sun has come around.  Pic du Madelon and the climbs below (right side)  Alison on the furthest right route, Le Depit du Plumitif, at Contrefort du Madelon  Mike on pitch 3 of Le Depit du Plumitif. We did two routes that day.  Mike heading up the 6a pitch (pitch 3) on Ne cherche pas d'ge là-bas at Genat  - a 7 pitch route that traverses along the cliff.  Fiona heading off on pitch 4 on Ne cherche pas d'ge là-bas at Genat  Fiona on another traverse on Ne cherche pas d'ge là-bas at Genat, thankfully a lot less stressful than Dream was...  The final night dinner, a monster pasta bake!