Climbing
17.05.2016

Mexico Climbing Trip

Climbing one of the highest faces of the world? Sébastien Ratel, member of the GMHM and Aurélie Didillon, an experienced climbing teacher, had decided to take up the challenge in the heart of the Mexican canyons.
Sébastien Ratel à flanc de paroi

"The Mexico is sadly known for its narco traficants. So, with Aurelie Didillon, we decide to do our own lines… in climbing, for sure! But, we have brung our own powder, some chalk, of course… We focused especially on two routes. The first one on the “El Gigante” Wall is named “Logical Progression”. The name suits perfectly to this face because it’s surely the most sportive and the longer world’s route: 800 meters in 7C+ max. The second one, next to the Basaseachi waterfall is shorter but harder: “Subiendo el Arcoiris”, 300m, 8a max. 

After 5 days to reach our little paradise place and mostly recover from the jetlag, we meet Valentin. He will be our guide to reach the giant’s feet. You have to know that he raises cattle and he is the only one to know by heart the area, as well as the narcos who grow in the sector…

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It is a steep wall and from the bottom we can’t see the summit. Our project consisting in do a free redpoint looks really bold, seeing what’s waiting for us: around thirty pitches in 7, for 3 days of climbing and the hoisting of all of our equipment.

After a night at the feet of the wall, we start early. The wall still at the shadow until 4 pm. The beginning is easier, we acclimatize to the style to reach the first bivouac ledge around 1 pm. Aurélie finds the methods of the first 7c, which permit to me to achieve it in one try. She achieves it just after me. For the next 7c+, it is my turn to analyse. Aurélie misses the flash from a little bit. Sun is coming but I choose to have a try. I do it but just just! We come back to our ledge to have some deserved rest.

Aurélie Didillon

At the awakening, without any warming, Aurel misses once again her try. Unfortunately, we don’t have time anymore for another run… We continue. This day, we just had to do one try each on a 7c. Just before the tough sun come, we reach the second ledge. We begin to be exhausted. The only thing that boosts our morale is the perspective to have our bags lighter as we drink water.

After a « warming » little 7b, we recover our spirits. We must succeed almost all the pitches if we want to see the end. The only perspective to do it really motivates me and I do all my best in flash, and we finally arrive at the bottom of the last 7c+. as a gentleman, I let give my turn to Aurél… she is supposed to find the methods. After ten minutes of fight, she still not hanging in the rope. She looks, she searches, and she finds! 20 minutes after, she looks like she’s out of the steepest part. Motivated by my encouragements, she’s going to try on sight flash. She disappears in a slab then I hear her shouting belay station. It’s incredible!! I yell my congratulations to her. But now, it’s my turn and I have to pass this pitch too… I can feel a little pressure on my shoulders… since the beginning the holds are tiny and Aurel is too far to indicate to me the methods. I search for good holds and I can feel acid swelling my arms. Then, I hear the voice of my belayer. I have to get closer! I do all my best to get out this damned slight overhang. Now it still 4 pitches; and we gonna do it!  
Sébastien Ratel en plein ascension
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At the summit, Valentin is waiting for us, having a nap under is cowboy hat

After a quick week having some rest and doing some tourism, we find back the motivation to put our feet in our climbing shoes.
We work for two days the most important pitches of the waterfall route. The climbing is awesome and really diversified. We feel ready for a try in free climbing. This time we are doing a perfect partition. We both accumulate corners, slabs, and other slight overhands in just one try! Once the summit reached, this time we enjoy for a last time this wonderful scenery in the canyon."

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