Hello climbers! It has been a while that I have written a story on my blog. I have to admit it is easier to share a photo via Instagram at times. Anyway, I posted some photos of Verdon a while ago and I would like to share my story with you!

My goal of the trip was to climb a lot in a new area. I wanted to do some multipitching and combine it with some sport climbing. My first multipitch experience was far away in Marocco. This time I was looking for a destination somewhat closer to home. We chose for the Verdon in south-France because I haven’t been there yet. I wanted to climb with my French climbing buddies Jérôme and Etienne. They have been climbing there before and could guide me in this area. For me it was the perfect time to meet and check out a new area like the Verdon. From Eindhoven I flew with my packed luggage (20 KG filled with material) and rucksack towards Marseille and got picked up by Jérôme at the airport.

Goodmorning! Selfie Sunday 😁📷 on my way to the 🛫⛰️🌄🌞 #climbing_is_my_passion

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From the point of view of Marseille the village La Palud sur Verdon was faced in the northeast direction. It was a 2 hour drive from the airport to the village. We didn’t even arrive yet and I already wanted to take some photos of the view. I could stare for hours to the water. When we arrived the view was just breathtaking!

For our accommodation we selected a bungalow where we could fit in with 4 climbers. When we arrived at the campsite, Etienne just received the keys for the bungalow. It was a perfect timing to check it out. The bungalow was quite simple containing a kitchen, dining area, bathroom and 2 rooms with a view on the landscape. It was a super cozy bungalow with everything we could ask for.

After we had settled down from the travelling we were going to check out a sports climbing area: sector Pantin du Néant. It was 20 minutes away by car. We parked the car in the forest and walked about 15 minutes. The last part of the approach was some klettersteig traverse. This climbing area is not well known yet.

On the internet you can find a topo guide from Pantin du Néant, however it is not yet the final version (source: Charlotte Durif)
There is a nice overview on Bonoway.
Click here to download the provisional topo guide. Furthermore I have the exact coordinates to find your way to the crag: Latitude: 43° 44′ 6″ N, Longitude: 6° 21′ 20″ E
And the coordinated to park your car: Latitude: 43° 44′ 1″ N, Longitude: 6° 21′ 9″ E

The view was amazing. The huge gorge was 200 meter deep, this is part of a regional nature park of the Verdon, which has a size of 180.000 hectare. Between the gorge there is a riverbed of 25 km. Realizing these facts and looking at the rocks I felt quite small.

After a warm up in a 7A+ route we worked out a 8A+ route, De l’o2 dans le gaz. This route, also known as the king line of the area, started from a plateau which was 200m high from the ground. The route had multiple cruxes of which the last crux was just 5 meters before the anchor. The climbing was really cool, especially the view when you come down from the top. You’re looking straight into the void, that was pretty cool. 😀

The 2nd day we went to the sector La Ramirole. The approach was a bit longer and also a bit more challenging. I had to prepare myself with a harness and gloves to rappel down some parts. I enjoyed the approach and I was distracted by the surroundings.

The nature is beautiful. We were surrounded by trees and once we exited the forest, we were facing massive rocks. This area is perfect for some sports climbing and climbing multipitches. We started with a 6C route. The rocks felt pretty raw. After this route we picked a vertical 8A in sector 3: La guerre des paires. The crux of the route was somewhat morpho for my length, however it resulted into some great photos during the climb.

That same evening another climber joined us, a climbing buddy from Etienne, his name was Baptiste. He was well introduced: the one arm pullup guy. He was a strong dude, he could prove that the following days. For the next day we picked a multipitch: Take it or leave it, from the well-known Patrick Edlinger. It is a vertical 8A and it was 120 meter containing 4 pitches starting with a 7C, 7A+, 7C and ending with a 8A.

To climb this route, we had to rappel down. In my opinion this was quite special. We prepared ourselves, put our harnesses on, rappelled down to the middle of the route for the first stop. From here we rappelled down again to the ground. Our rope was too short, hence 2 times rappelling down. All of the pitches I climbed was on lead. The last pitch took me the most effort. It started with a super cool mantle where you had to place your foot next to your ear to mantle your way up. Then there was a traverse to the right on 2 mono pockets. Eventually I had 2 bad pockets which was spread so far from eachother I could barely fit in between with my arms. With my face almost pressed against the wall, I smeared my feet on friction and had to launch myself for a dyno move. I had to commit for this move, otherwise I couldn’t make it. Unfortunately I couldn’t climb the last pitch in 1 attempt. For Etienne it was a dream come true, he managed to flash this last pitch thanks to our support.

In the photo above, I was belaying Baptiste who just launched himself for the dyno move. Once we got to the summit, we could finally celebrate our team send. It was a successful day where we could take down this awesome multipitch!

On our 4th day we went back to the sector Pantin du Néant. It was more or less meant as an active rest day. Etienne sent the 8A+ route in his first attempt, this was the route we worked out on the first day. I could join the send train and climbed 2 routes: a 7A+ for warmup and the same 8A+ route, de l’o2 dans le gaz in my first attempt. Baptiste also climbed this route and another classic 8A, Pantin du Néant.

I almost managed to flash this route. I could make all the moves and I really wanted to send this line, therefore I saved my energy and save this route for the next time.

The 5th day we went climbing early. We picked an easy multipitch which was quite adventurous. The name of the multipitch was: Alix punk de vergons, a 7B+ multipitch which was 300 meters long containing 10 pitches: 5C, 7A+, 6C+, 7A+, 7B, 6C+, 6C+, 7B, 6C and 7A. It took quite some preparation. We brought a double rope 2×50 meter with us, harness, lifeline, helmet, reverso, some carabiners, micro traxion, gloves, prusikrope, Petzl lightweight draws, comfortable La Sportiva climbing shoes, some Clif bars and water.

The goal was to climb the full multipitch in the shadow. I learned a lot from my multipitch experience but I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the rest. My rope technique has improved a bit during the climb. Jérôme and I took a break of 10 minutes to digest a Clif bar and drank some water. I was the slowest climber of all, climbed the last 2 pitches in the sun and made it to the summit in 4 hours.

F.l.t.r.: Truong, Baptiste, Jérôme, Etienne. The photo was taken right after we got back from the multipitch. On the background you can see the 300 meter wall which was now facing the sun. 3 days climbing trip was over for Baptiste and he went back home. Tired but still going strong we went back home as well and celebrated our climb with a delicious pizza in the sun. It was another victorious day!

On the 6th day Jérôme, Etienne and I went back to the sector Pantin du Néant. The approach went quick. My focus was to climb super-efficient after all these days. My warm up and also cooling down was the 8A route which I last time didn’t finish. Fortunately I could send the route on my first attempt. Etienne worked out a 8B and managed to send it the same day!

We had climbed plenty routes to celebrate the day. We treated ourselves on a beer and a 3 dish menu in a restaurant. Our week was awesome!

The 7th day we went back to the same sector Pantin du Néant. I had no expectations of this day. Etienne suggested me to try this 8B route, Bébert, les couilles en fer. I worked out all the moves and found 4 kneebar positions.

On my 1st attempt my heelhook zipped away from the biggest jug of the route. It was such a pity to stand on the ground again. After a good break with some baguette and cheese I focused myself on the route again. It became darker as the end of the day was approaching. I was super motivated to commit for the route. I started my climb and enjoyed the moves and swung from one hold to another. I knew I could make all the moves and I knew I could send it, but it was time to prove it. In Neoliet I was training for moments like these, to give everything even when you’re tired. Against all my expectations I passed all cruxes of the route, it finally came down to the last few meters. I had to commit all the moves and finally I reached the chain! Yes!! 😀 😀 I was so happy I could take down this route and finish my 7 day push.

On day 8 Jérôme drove me back to the airport and I flew back to Eindhoven. To cut a long story short, I enjoyed all climbing days. I love the Verdon because it is beautiful and it is perfect to climb during these summer months. I would like to return here every year to climb more routes. My week in the Verdon was a major success thanks to Jérôme and Etienne!

My goal has been achieved, because I could climb a lot of routes.

I hope you enjoyed reading my story and experience. If you want to multipitch, the Verdon is definitely worth to check it out!

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