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Quebec’s Moby Dick M8 WI5+ Gets Repeated After 20 Years

On the Le Pic de L’aurore mixed crag, considered the Stanley Headwall of eastern Canada

Photo by: Nelson Rioux

On March 5 and 6, Jean Francois Girard and Carl Darveau made the second ascent of Moby Dick, first climbed by Bernard Maillot and Benoit Marion 20 years ago. The M8 WI5+ 165-metre mixed line is located on Le Pic de L’aurore, Percé. Photographer Nelson Rioux joined to photograph the ascent.

Moby Dick Reborn M8 WI5+ 165m Photo Girard

“We made an attempt in 2015, but failed because some of the route was missing,” Girard said. “Two-thirds of the second pitch had fallen into the sea.” They called their new variation Moby Dick Reborn and graded the pitches WI4 70m, M8 30m, M8 15m and WI5+ 50m.

Girard said that this year was mild and that the route was in climbable condition. “We rapped down the route and bolted a new second pitch,” Girard said. “We came back the next day and sent the route. It’s our third on the wall, which is could be considered the Stanley Headwall of the east.”

In March 2016, they established Aller Simple pour Mars, a difficult new mixed climb at Pic de l’Aurore which they graded M7+ WI7- 190m. In 2019, Stas Beskin added a variation last pitch called The Only Whale on Mars M9 WI5+. Another hard mixed route on the wall is Double 7, a 190-metre M7 WI7. The most mellow climb is Double Deux M2 WI2 190m.

Lead photo: Nelson Rioux