Location: Cassis, France – Les Calanque D’Morgeiu(pronounced “more-gi-eww”… I think)
One of my favorite things in life is waking up just a bit before my alarm, and relaxing in bed until it goes off.
That is exactly what happened on Tuesday, with the subtle exception that, after relaxing for 3 minutes (still another 10min or so before my alarm) Rebecca drop-kicks my door down while screaming a battle-cry that would rouse the stones themselves.
I may be exagerating, but that’s sure as hell what it felt like when my heart was racing at 5,000 bpm and Rebecca was asking why I wasn’t awake yet. It’s because I’m having a heart attack thank-you-very-much!
So I got out of bed, ate bacon and eggs, drank coffee and juice, put my pack on, and we all walked out the door and into the car, heading toward Les Calanque D’Morgeiu, one of the larger and better-known climbing spots in the Calanques.
We left the house right around 8:45, picked up Baguettes at the small shop, and were on the main road right around 9:00… just in time to hit French rush hour (Ed Note: in France, people get into work at 9:30, on average). French
rush hour, in a word, is terrifying. I don’t know how Daniel survived the driving, but I was quite happy to sit in the back and silently wish that Vespas wouldn’t pass us, at 60 mph, with roughly 10ft to spare before being crushed by a semi. See… the main road we took went between Cassis and Marseilles… it was two lanes. One lane each direction. No divider. 100kph speed limit. Yeah. Also, on the side of a mountain with a flimsy guard rail.
But we survived. By the grace of Vespa-girl, we survived. And I mean, the roads won’t get any worse, right?
The road into Morgeiu. Twisting and turning through the mountain, more hairpins and switchbacks than a person could easily count. Two directions, on a road less than 10ft wide. The trick, we learned, is to constantly honk your horn when you come to a blind turn or curve. That way, the drivers coming straight at you, have time to pull into a tiny little pullout to let you pass.
Ohh, and there are no guard rails. Don’t worry, it’s only a 400ft drop off the side of this insanely narrow road. It’s kinda sloped too, so we’ll probably survive.
The fact that Daniel could still climb after gripping the wheel on that drive… that’s true strength and endurance.
Anyways, we survived. We parked in a little lot. We walked to the first crag, found a huge schoolgroup, and then walked some more. No real trails, but a lot of thin social trails. <shrug> When in Rome…
Climbing! The area we settled into was called Le Cret Saint Michel, and the specific wall was La Creche…
- L’Estrello – 5.3- Lead = Ben. Nice and clean route; face climbing with a few interesting moves. Not rough, but not super polished either.
- Santo Vierge – 5.4- Lead = Daniel. Basically the same as L’Estrello
- Jesu – 5.7- Lead = ???. Very interesting start, with a lot of sneaky and neat moves
- Sant Jose – 5.5- Lead = Ben. Very solid route that linked with Jesu. A lot of similar sneaky moves, where it’s horrible until you find that one hidden hold.
- Lou Mounie – 5.9 – Lead = Rebecca. Another fun climb, though a lot of the little moves were rather sketchy