Black Diamond athlete Daniel Jung spent some time in southern France last year and recently sent us the following report and video of his redpoint of INGA (9a), a combo route that starts with a boulder problem and finishes with roped climbing.
I went climbing in the Loup Gorge in southern France towards the end of September. Gorges du Loup means steep walls, sintered rock, but unfortunately chipped holds too. In the Deverse sector there are not too many natural routes. Those few that aren't chipped, however, are super cool!
I liked INGA a lot. It is unchipped and probably the steepest route in the sector. It was first climbed by Dai Koyamada and repeated by Enzo Oddo. The first half of the route runs underneath a roof that is protected with crash pads. After that, you exit via a short route called 7pm J.P. Show (8c). The boulder problem roof can be climbed by itself too—it's supposed to be about 8B. Before I get into linking an 8c after an 8B boulder, I had to be certain first that I could be certain to do the 8c exit.
I could free 7pm on my fifth attempt—things were going well! I did not find 7pm particularly hard for an 8c ... But in the end, the last ten moves on sloping holds were to be the crux of the whole of INGA after all.
After a lot of guesswork about hook placements to keep my rear end on the wall, I solved the roof boulder. But I still wasn't overly optimistic. Heat waves, cuts, or calm winds could make the climb impossible yet. But fortunately everything worked out and I could climb the roof boulder for the first time. That was a very suspenseful affair! I ended up falling off the last hard moves before the anchor... I was too excited.
After a long break I made another attempt. Just for practice, because the route would not be in the shade for long and the sun was on its way. The boulder went really well again and I was just below the last slopers below the anchor—and the sun was there too! But it all worked out well and I could get to the anchor before the sun. So INGA had been freed earlier than expected and I was once again ecstatic!
The story of 7pm is very interesting. The line was bolted by a Mr. J.P.. with the intention to chip a 7b route. Fortunately he was scooped by Alex Franko who could climb the natural line free. 7pm J.P. Show is the only natural 8c line in the sector... so folks, don't go chipping holds ;-)
Talk to you soon!