Dane Duplessis and Jonathan Leclerc have climbed a new four-pitch 5.10d at La Baie in Quebec and have called it Zeste de Bleuet. We touched base with Duplessis about their new granite multi-pitch.
“There are four other routes that were established in the 1970s on the lower left part of the cliff,” Duplessis said. “This one is the hardest and longest, and the first to be put up in 45 years. It’s mostly an adventure climbing area.” La Baie rises above the Saguenay River, and has three main walls: le Champignon, FX-Garneau and Regis Richard, with Zeste de Bleuet being on the right side of FX Garneau.
“It’s quite strenuous to get there, so the entire cliff sees less than five accents every year,” Duplessis said. “I was motivated by the height of that right slabby section, and the optional roof in the first pitch.”
The pitches break down to 5.10d, 5.8, 5.9 and 5.10b/c, with the crux described as an easy slab with good protection behind a flake to an intimidating roof and tricky mantle. “It turned out to be as amazing as I expected,” said Duplessis. ” With about 140 metres of technical slab climbing, cracks, dihedrals and a bouldery roof section protected by bomber nuts just.
As any route developer knows, a lot of time goes into cleaning and prepping a line before the first ascent. When asked how many wire brushes they went through, Duplessis said, “We actually didn’t go through that many brushes, maybe three or four, but we did break two aluminum crowbars trying to pry out sketchy boulders, and core shot a rope, which isn’t that bad in all honesty.”
Their biggest challenge was time, as the wall is remote, and it took a while to set everything to remove the one-inch thick layer of black lichen. “We spent many 12-hour days, back to back, just figuring out where the route would go,” said Duplessis.
“I have many other projects on those cliffs, in fact, there’s a lifetime worth of developing in that area alone. For the rest of the summer, I’ll focus on the smaller neighbouring one and two-pitch cliffs at the start of the trail, and the immense bouldering potential at its foot.” For gear, bring a standard rack to three inches, doubles from .1 to .75, and expect bomber C3 placements.