Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back for one last big one

Raphael on the first crux of Mr Hulot.

With our stay almost over we returned for one last route at the superb Stanley Headwall, our fifth route here of the trip. Together with Mr Stanley himself, Raphael Slawinski we climbed "The Day After Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot." (M7 WI6). I had read alot about this route and its one I particularly wanted to climb. Raphael made the first free ascent of this 10 years ago and its had hardly any repeats since. The main reason is that its on trad gear.
Nick squirming in the snow up a Scottish 7 chimney on pitch 3

The crux is a slightly leaning smooth corner climbed on tiny slopey hooks and minimal feet. After all the swinging around on steep overhangs particularly at Haffner I felt much more at home here reminding me of some of the things we climb in Scotland. Its interesting to note particularly following recent world wide web interest in modern Scottish mixed climbing how some of these routes would rate in Scottish terms. So my guesses are as follows:

French Reality (guide grade V 5.8 WI6+) M6 WI6 = Scottish VII,7
Nightmare on Wolf Street (guide V M7+ WI6+) M8? WI6+ = IX,9
Drama Queen (guide M7 WI6) M7 WI6 = VIII,8
Terminator (T2 start) (guide M7 WI6+) M7 r/x WI5+ = IX,8
Curtain Call (guide WI6) WI6 = VII,7
Suffer Machine (guide M7 WI5) M7 r WI5 = VIII,9
'Monsieur Hulot (guide M7 WI6) M7 WI6 = VIII,9

One of the interesting things is these are all old hat in terms of the cutting edge. Raphael's recent Victoria's Secret also at Stanley is probably M9, trad and climbed ground up and I guess would rate Scottish grade X. All good inspiration to see what we can do next year in Scotland.

Final holiday snap

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