As the weather has remained excellent in Ailefroide we have stayed here to focus on multi-pitch rock rather than heading off somewhere else to do more alpine climbing.
Palavar les Flots, 12 Pitches, 430m, 5c
We started with the long but relatively straight forward classic of Palavar les Flots, which is a 12 pitch 5c which climbs the dominant arête above the campsite. The climbing was relatively sustained all the way up at 4b-5a which made for an enjoyable day out, the crux pitch was notably harder than the rest of the route but had an enjoyable sequence up the slab.
Despite being stuck behind a slower group of three, we made quick time up the route and we were at the top by lunchtime. After lunch on the top, we made the long abseil back down to the valley. By the time we were back down at the base of the route we were in the full heat of the afternoon sun, so we made a hasty retreat to a hotel in Ailefroide for a beer and some ice cream.
Little Palaver, 8 Pitches, 300m, 5c
Next to Palavar les Flots is a smaller ridge which is known as Little Palavar. It is an 8 pitch 5c, which while technically isn’t any harder, it is much more sustained with the majority of the pitches being 5b or 5c. An early start meant that we were the first on the route, or so we thought…
After the tough first pitch it became clear that a slower party had missed out the first pitch and cut in front of us. After sneaking past on the next pitch we soon accelerated away from them and were able to enjoy climbing without any queueing. The climbing was fabulous, with excellent positions, enjoyable climbing and good bolting. Unfortunately, the climb was only 8 pitches so we were soon at the top and had to start the abseils back down to the hot valley.