Legendary Mixed Routes Repeated in France

Tim Emmett heads toward the final ice dagger on the first free ascent of Sous L’Oeil des Choucas (300m, WI7 M9). Photo by Jérôme Blanc-Gras / Planetfear.com.

News Link: During a long trip to France, British climber Tim Emmett has completed some rarely repeated ice and mixed routes, including the first free ascent of a seven-pitch testpiece from the mid-1990s.

With fellow Brit Nick Bullock, Emmett climbed La Lyre (550m, VI WI7), considered the hardest ice route in the world when it was first led in 1992 by Thierry Renault. The route, which concludes with three WI6 or harder pitches in a row, is dangerously exposed to the sun, and two climbers were killed nearby by falling ice shortly after the British ascent. 

In mid-January, Emmett and French guide Jérôme Blanc-Gras made the first free ascent of Sous L’Oeil des Choucas (300m, WI7 M9). Emmett freed the two A2 pitches on the 1996 route, giving a climb with pitches of M5, M6, WI7, M6, M9, WI6+, and WI4. 

Click here to see Emmett’s brief report and some photos. Bullock posted an account of La Lyre and other wild French climbs, with excellent photos, at nickbullock.blogware.com

To read more about Emmett check out the 2007 Climbing.com Exclusive: 20 Questions with Tim Emmett

Dates of Ascents: December 2008 — January 2009 

Sources: Planetfear.com, UKClimbing.com, Nickbullock.blogware.com

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