Ariege climbing and walking meet – 12-19th Oct
I had cycled through the area in 2018 so I knew the scenery was fabulous. When I was researching venues for an autumn meet it seemed ideal. Kevin, Alf, Ian, Dave, Susan, Helen and I flew to Carcassonne and Paul, Barbara and Lexi drove across from the Alps. The weather was kind if anything too hot but it would be churlish to complain. The obvious place to climb when you are staying at Base Calames is Calames itself. With over 200 routes from 4a to 8b across 9 sectors, there really is something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed a single pitch 5+ called “Blues pour un Chat Noir” and 5 pitch 5+ called “Pour Lubeline” which took us to the top of the mountain. The only problem with Calames was the lack of shade and afternoon it was just too hot to climb there. We tried Alliat and did a few routes there but Auzat suited us better with excellent climbing on granite, trees for shade and some east facing buttresses giving afternoon shade. I don’t have a full list of climbs but a good range was done from 4+ to 6b+. It wasn’t all climbing, when we realised there was a Tintin themed apple festival not far away we had to investigate. I think their tarte tatin was the best pudding of the week although the gateaux basque, tart framboise and tart au citron were very good too. Sue and I visited Chateau de Foix and saw a working trebuchet. Paul and Barbara and Lexi got to the top of Dent d’Orlu at 2,222m.