The Greatest Summer - Part III. G du T
John McCune on Les Ailes du Desire (8a)
Friday, 1 May 2015
A security guard stood to attention, his index finger hovering over the trigger of the gun. His face was blank, eyes scanning the Security Lounge. I walked through the airport scanner and picked up my bag as it was spat out of the x-ray machine. Suddenly, he shouted: ‘Mr. Livingstone! Hands up, trousers down!’
I sniggered as the imaginary scene played out in my head, but thankfully I made it through airport security without mishap. I was going sport climbing in the Gorge du Tarn for some ‘pre-trad-season’ fitness and meeting up with ‘Ireland’s Leading Alpinist,’ John McCune. It was also perfect timing: a high pressure system moved over the UK and the Llanberis Pass began to dry out. Rats.
I sat down in a chair in Liverpool airport and got up again in Switzerland, two hours later. Meeting up with John ‘Colin McRae,’ we were soon speeding to the south of France, bound for t’ Tarn.
I’d heard snippets about the Gorge du Tarn (aka t’ Tarn) - namely that it was a stamina-fest and the routes were 50 or 60m long: just my style. Obviously, after a few weeks here I’d be immune to lactic acid and never get pumped whilst trad climbing this summer. Obviously. As it turns out, nothing ever goes quite to plan...