|Ceuse wide-angle. Note that blue line describing path is about as inaccurate/vague as you can get :)|
I thought I'd put a short post about Ceuse itself since many people haven’t been here and thought some people might be interested.
Here’s two photos of the crag, one zoomed in and one wide-angle so you can see the campsite and the walk-in. Hopefully you can view them in full quality - if not go here and here. Basically, the campsite is at about 1300 meters and the crag is about 1900, so about a 600 meter vertical climb over 3 kms every day. Who said sports climbers were lazy?! :) No seriously, it’s also one of the special quirks and benefits of Ceuse because it keeps the numbers down at the crag. One of the nice benefits of the crags location also is that you don’t have to bring any gear down everyday, everyone is friendly enough that all gear is just stashed up at the crag in random locations. Items are rarely stolen, and if anything it seems that if something goes missing, it’s due to a mix-up in grabbing the wrong gear.
Regarding the crag, it’s described in separate sectors to make more sense of it. Cascade and Thorgal being in the sun until about 1pm, and the crags on the right go into shade about 3pm (during summer months). Depending on the mood, some people will walk up for a morning and afternoon session, many will just do one or the other.
The crag is slightly curved also, it’s just just a straight line so that you can look across and see each sector.
Face du Rat is relatively undeveloped, but that's also because it's ridiculously overhanging. Biographie overhangs about about 30-40 degrees, and is about as awe-inspiring as it gets for routes. Yes, Biographie/Realization (8c+/9a+) pretty much looks like a blank wall from below. The right hand side of Pont sur L'infinit is the super-classic overhang of L'ami du tout la monde (8b) and Bibendum (7b+). Hard to perceive how steep they are front-on but one of the reasons that everyone wants to do Bibendum is because the swing is so much fun at the end :)
Demi Lune is the main sector for grade 6 and 7 climbing, beautiful vertical wall of blue, grey and orange streaks of pockets.
to give an idea of height, La Grande Face is about 120 meters in height. Many of the routes are about 30 meters, but many are getting extensions now that are up to 80 meters. That’s a single 70 meter pitch. One of the more famous ones is the extension to a classic 7c+ on Biographie sector, that is about 60-ish meters in height and goes at 8b. Obviously you need big ropes for these, you’ll see the odd person here with 100 or 120 meter ropes. Glad I didn’t have to carry that one up.......
As for grades and routes, as one Swede memorably said to me many years ago, "up to 8a, none of the moves are that hard, the problem is there is 100 of them on each route!". It's pretty apt, many of the routes are very endurance related, no single impossible move (although some do feel harder), but just loads and loads of them to fight through. It makes for brilliant climbing as you can never really relax till you get to the chains. I can't actually think of a route that only has one really hard move, there's usually multiple moves that feel pretty stiff. The other side of the routes here is the run-outs, 3 meters is pretty common. The grade 6's are pretty well bolted but once you're into the 7's, you have to deal with this exposure which is made all the more real as due to the type of climbing (feet and hands in pockets in a sheer wall), it means that it's a clean drop below :) Some of the harder classics start off with 2 meter, then 3-meter, then 4 meter, all the way up to a 6-meter gab to the chains. We've seen some monster plummets off one of the classic 8a+, Femme Blance, which is the epitomy of this run-out style.
Berlin is the classic area of the crag and arguably the best sector if you're climbing mid 7's and above. Slightly overhanging, and super-sustained. The classic is Blocage Violent 7b+ (many argue it's 7c) that follows a gorgeous blue streak of rock up the left-hand side.......
Anyway, hope that helps. And to finish off, this is one of the reasons this place is so amazing. Courtesy of friend, this is how Ceuse looked one night last week from the campsite...