Paroi des Lys is like a big brother to La Ponteil, looming above it and about twice the height. It’s remarkable that such a sizeable crag (routes up to 8 pitches / 250m) can be accessed so easily, just 10mins of gravel hairpins beyond the Ponteil parking area
… and a 15mins saunter up a good path.
Great views down to Sector Hot Rock on La Ponteil, and if you look really hard you can just about make out Les Guions and the rest of the St Crepin crags we’ve visited over the last few days.
Mike and I arrived to find a team just starting up a route, and were relieved to find, after some frantic guidebook flicking, that it wasn’t the one we had in mind (it was La 3me Generation, two to the left).
As the name suggests, Fiesta del Cinq Soup / Siza is sustained at 5c-6a+ for most of its 250m, and there’s some great climbing, the bolting is friendly and there isn’t a hint of polish. What’s not to like!?
The first 35m 6a+ pitch is possibly the crux, with a tough last 10m up a steep corner then rib. Here’s Mike following.
The next 5c pitch is pure quality
… and we ran the next couple together into a huge 70m runout. You can just about spot Mike in the bottom of this shot, and he’s already done about 20m!
Pitch 5 is another really good 6a and then there’s a bit of a bushwhack to a belay beneath the final Headwall – don’t make my mistake and run these together unless you want major struggles taking-in.
A number of lines meet / cross at this point, and we were taken with the 6a+ crack of La 3me Generation, which seemed the more natural continuation (and there was no sign of the other team). Getting to the crack was quite involved, but once established you’re counting the blessings of a grit apprenticeship! Another 6a+ pitch from there and we’d topped out, in just over 3 hours. Not too shabby.
The rap route is set up for people using 2x50s but we got away with our single 80m by using the occasional intermediate rap point. All was going well until about 100m off the deck, when the rope got stuck behind a chockstone in the huge gully that cleaves the crag. Even with 20:20 hindsight it’s hard to see how you’d avoid this except by being lucky. Talking of lucky – guess who got to do an extra 6a+ pitch (P3 of Voie de les Martagans I think) – you just can’t get too much of a good thing! After a bit of shenanigans we were back down on terra firma. Time for celebratory beers and lentil and spinach curry chez nous.