With a changeable forecast for Chamonix, Guillome and myself chose to alter our plan and climb a route in the L’arve Vallee called Indiana Jones. It’s about 10 pitches long, 4 hardish pitches of 6b+, it takes you into some awesome positions, has just about every style of climbing, in general just a great route!
To start the route, you make 5 full abseils, mostly free hanging, to the base of the cliff. I don’t usually enjoy abseiling but the position you are in and quality of anchors allows you to forget about previous bad experiences and enjoy the feeling of hanging free on a rope, descending at a rate of knots. Then it’s just a short walk to the start of the climb.
The climb meanders and weaves up a face then into a crack system then back out onto the face to finish. For most of the route you are climbing on vertical slightly overhanging limestone, which has enough holds to make slow and steady upward progress, however it’s not always easy to read how to make the moves. Above the route is huge overhang which looks pretty inaccessible, below the cliff drops away to the bottom of the valley and into Cluses. An incredible position and one which reminds me of the Verdon Gorge, though this is just an hours drive from where I’m living!
Most of the route is delicate, technical climbing, some awesome traverses forcing you to feel the exposure. Until however you reach a crack system which involves chimneying, squirming, wriggling, struggling and employing improvised climbing techniques. It felt more like caving than climbing and pleased to get back onto the face to enjoy a quality airy last pitch. An awesome route, a great day and a big recommendation to give it a burn!