Sharma goes old-skool at MouriÃ¨s on Magie Blanche
- Wednesday 5th August 2020 at 8.04pm
Dec 15th; 2015
Chris Sharma, climbing with Marc Le Menestrel, visited the so-called old-skool climbing venue of Mouriès for a stint on Magie Blanche (F8b+) earlier in the autumn.
Located in deepest Provence, Mouriès is a remarkable crag in a stunning location. The somewhat flat and rolling Provence country-side is punctuated at Mouriès by the fin of rock which runs east-west. The south-facing side of the fin, which overlooks a golf course, is typically blasted by the hot sun-light and is largely ignored. The flip side of the fin however, is where the action is. Facing north, the shaded side of Mouriès overlooks gently rolling hills; it’s both an idyllic and unlikely location for some fantastic climbing.
Back in the 80s and 90s no climbing visit to Provence was complete without a few sessions at Mouriès. The north face offers numerous sectors all of which are a few degrees either side of vertical. The bullet-hard limestone is covered with tiny edges and pockets – not surprisingly the climbing is hard, thin and tenuous, decidedly old-skool by comparison with many of today’s test pieces which live in overhanging grottos.
Magic Blanche (F8b+) was originally bolted by Marc Le Menestrel in the mid 80s. Despite considerable effort Le Menestrel was unable to get the redpoint – an honour which finally went to his fellow Frenchman, Didier Raboutou, in 1989. Climbed the year after Mark Leach did Cry Freedom (F8c) at Malham and Martin Atkinson did Mecca, The Mid-Life Crisis (F8b+), Magic Blanche was one of the first F8b+’s in France and one of the hardest routes in the world at that time.
Chris Sharma was seemingly so fascinated by Marc Le Menestrel's stories about Magic Blanche that he travelled with Marc to Mouriès for a session on said route. Watch the video below to see how they got on…