posted by dpm on 07/17/2013
UK legend Steve McClure has made a flash ascent of what is quite possibly the most beautiful pitch of tufa climbing in the world. Tom et Je Ris, in France's Verdon Gorge, mostly climbs a single perfect tufa plastered to a beautiful, streaked limestone wall high above the river. The pitch is a full 60-meters and Steve's epic-length, 45-minute battle ended with the added intensity of an impending lightning storm.
UKClimbing has the full report including thoughts from Steve on his style of ascent. The route is approached from the top by rappelling in, making a pure onsight nearly impossible. Additionally, the steepness of the route requires the climber to clip the draws on the way down and offers the opportunity to see and feel the holds. Steve calls it a "no-falls first go effort," but also notes that he's "not sure how you'd do better, maybe dropping in faster, or with a blindfold."
Steve's ascent is a good excuse to revisit one of the prettiest climbing shorts on the web. Click the image below to watch Australian Monique Forestier climbing Tom et Je Ris (5.14a).