For my major goal I motivated Tim to join me on the very sustained Anthropocene, in the Tadrarate canyon. A special motivation for choosing this route was that Kurt Albert, a free climbing pioneer who also like came from the Frankenjura, was one of the first ascensionists. Graded 8a and with most of the 17 pitches being harder than 7a, this route best describes why I was in Taghia. While Les Rivieres Pourpres was a mental challenge, this was certainly much more physical. The day was perfect in all respects. I onsighted the route, with many beautiful pitches of varied climbing on crimps and pockets with everything from from slabs to overhanging.
Even though Klaas still did not feel so good, he wanted to at least try and climb one more line before we left. While I could see the disappointing experience of Barracuda was still lurking inside him, he had a strong determination to give this last climb all he had. His choice fell on L’Axe du Mal, 500 metres of vertical climbing with pitches up to 7c+. Despite the lack of a rest day I was very happy to follow him on this quest. After a few beautiful, easier pitches in the beginning, we hit the crux pitches halfway up.
I climbed the 7b roof pitch and it was Klaas’s turn to climb what we thought is the 7c crux pitch. It was his favourite style, 25 metres of continuous technical face climbing. Klaas had to climb fast and efficient, as his lungs were still in bad shape. Also, because of his Cycstic Fibrosis he has a significantly harder time to breath at this altitude. After an elegant dance up the wall with a few desperate moves in-between he made it to the anchor with very little to spare. He was so focused that he did not remember anything and could not help me with any proper beta. With much more shaking and much less style I arrived at the anchor to meet a happily smiling Klaas, who was thinking the hard part was over.
That smile quickly faded when just two pitches later we were below a designated 6c, which looked extremely hard. What we did not know at this time was that this was the actual crux pitch, rated 7c+, and our topo was simply wrong. Hesitating first, we soon realised that, whatever the grade of this pitch is, we want to climb it and not fail here. In an impressively close attempt, Klaas gave it all and I followed him up to the anchor. We were slightly scared now about the next 7a and 7a+ pitches, especially because our fingers and bodies already felt very tired. With nerves slightly on the edge, but in the end without major issues, we climbed to the top of the Tadrarate Canyon wall, feeling extremely relieved and happy about our team onsight.
Two days later, after a total of nearly 3000 metres of amazing climbing split into more than 80 pitches, the donkey was waiting to take us back home.