Big new mixed route climbed in Quebec in memory of Benoit Marion. Jean Francois Girard and Carl Darveau have established Aller simple pour Mars M7+ WI7- 190m in Percé. The climbers made the long drive in 2015 to repeat Moby Dick, a nearly 200-metre WI5+ M7 first climbed in 2001 by Bernard Mailhot and Benoit Marion.
Mailhot and Marion had also established Double 7, a big WI7 M7 up the same wall. When Girard and Darveau arrived, they attempted Moby Dick, but found something was missing.
Percé is a little fishing village on the most eastern point of the Gaspé Peninsula. History buffs will know this place as the first land encountered in 1534 by French explorer Jacques Cartier after his ocean crossing. Percé translates to “pierced rock,” which refers to eroded holes in the coastal stone.
A number of top climbers have left their mark on the peninsula, including Joe Josephson, Barry Blanchard and Margo Talbot. Guy Lacalle is known for climbing the bold Grand Délire a narrow WI5+ pillar. A number of hard routes have been established, including the 150-metre Canneloni de Curé WI5+ classic. It has been the scene of a number of big falls. Next to it is Canneloni is Le Spaghetti du Bedeau, a pleasant WI4.
Girard and Darveau returned home to Rimouski, a five-hour drive from Percé. They studied old and new photos and found a section of Moby Dick, about 50 metres by 10 metres by two metres, had fallen off the wall and into the ocean.
After returning to the wall this year, they studied where they imagined a new pitch could be added but concluded it looked to dangerous. But they noticed a new route between Moby Dick and Double 7 had formed.
“Back to l`Auberge du coin du banc, we sat at the table and drank a tea with the amazing 90-year-old madame Lise and listened to old stories about Percé,” said Girard. ” We sat in rocking chairs and drank tea by the wood stove.”
On March 17, they headed back up to the wall. Darveau led the first 85-metre WI5 pitch, which finished on an overhanging mushroom. Girard led the 30-metre M7+ WI7 second pitch, which climbed “loose rock and thin ice.”
The third WI7- 45-metre pitch climbed a “mind-blowing pillar” that finished with steep mushrooms and hollow ice. They then rambled up 25 metres of snow to a final technical crux.
“We climbed this route in memory of Benoit Marion, who left us too early,” said Girard.
“I want to thank Dany Julien for his support, pictures and video; Carl Darveau as my best partner ever; Aberge du coin du Banc and Mme Lise for her kindness; and Mountain Hardwear for protecting my fragile body.”