Thaurac – Mur des Lamentations and Balcons

We visited Thaurac about 4 years ago and ended up leaving prematurely and marking it down as 12CB4.

There’s a huge amount of rock to go at…

… This is just the stuff either side of the show cave – you can’t even see the bits we’ve climbed on this trip; they’re around the corner to the left (West). Quite a lot more than you can shake a stick at!

… so we started by exploring Mur des Lamentations – the most westerly of the developed areas. There’s a handy parking spot immediately beneath the crags,

then a steep path up to a disused road and a lower tier of routes (partly quarried),

from where a cable-protected scramble leads up to an upper tier of more impressive crags. This brings you out at a huge natural cave and sector Fu@#ing Baratas. The guidebook awards “hearts” to about 1 in 10 of the very best routes, and you’d imagine that these would suffer the “death by acclaim” fate of starred routes everywhere, but Dix Jours de Reflexion, 6a, was really good and not too blighted by polish. Another Light, 6b, next-door had a stiff traddy crux up a crack through a steepening. Further right, a couple of friendly guys were working Un Vie d’un Chat, 7a, which looked like a great line.

Whilst I waited I did Sous Les Soleil des Tropiques, 6c, which was excellent – tough moves up the arete just to the right, which also enabled me to get the clips in Une Vie… This proved to be every bit as good as it looked.

Making our way leftwards along the mid-height gangway, beneath sector Paulette-Marcel

we passed a couple of sections of rope / bridge construction that wouldn’t be out of place at Go Ape.

Looking back across Lamentations towards the Grand Face

… to reach Dalle a Jacky

It’s hard to know whether to recommend or warn against Fenetres sur L’Herault. It’s an absolute sandbag at 5c, severely polished throughout, but it’s a stupendous line passing a number of windows onto the tubular workings of a subterranean cave system.

Somewhat less baggy was Disciplus Simplex, which Helen managed to catch the last golden rays of the setting sun on…

A few days later, we returned for a visit to Les Balcons – another huge area of limestone accessed from the last hairpin on the way down from the showcave.

Helen was on rest-day / belay-bunny duty, and for once I’d made a vague plan – to warm up on Bienvenue…, 6b+ (see the previous post for the full name and amusing translation) and get the clips in Pour L’Empire, a 7a I did on the last trip. All went according to plan, and I even got a souvenir photo this time.

I was perhaps a bit too greedy / ambitious trying to tick a second 7a on the same day, and ground to a halt about half way up L’inter-minable. Hey ho – if you don’t try you’ll never know.

Great views down on to L’Herault rushing past below, though you don’t quite get the full effect without the constant background noise of the rapids.

Note for next visit – the 7a+ namesake route on the adjacent sector Le Terminus des Pretentieux looks like it might be worth a shot.

Early finish so we could celebrate Trucky’s Birthday!

He’s had a couple of precautionary visits to garagistes during our trip, both of which resulted in a shrug of the shoulders, a verdict of “pas de problem” and remarkably a refusal to take any money! Put it down to pre-Birthday nerves!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s