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Alpine Apres Paddling – Chateau-Queyras 31/07/2017 by Ian Bell

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Once we were changed from the paddle of the Chateau-Queyras Gorge, 5 of the team decided to take opportunity to via ferrata back into the gorge to take a close inspection of the u-bend. This meant that the rest had the onerous task of siting in the cafe while they waited for us. We started out by going to hire the harness from the raft outfitter, this gave Stuart T an opportunity to demonstrate his french language skills and negotiate us a good deal on the kit hire.

Once kited up we set off to the start where Stuart gave us all instruction on how we should clip and un-clipe to the safety line. We then decided on the order Stu agreed to lead with Me and Jen going second and third, Chris fourth and Hanna agreeing to be the back marker. Off we went. The course has been altered since previous years and no longer has the wooden bridges across to the castle side of the gorge. Our course ran down the left hand side as you look down stream and containsed a high wire and a wire bridge as well as the normal mix of metal and nature hand holds.

We had ample opportunity to inspect the water and debate the line that we took or did not take. We got to what may be the end of the shore course and an exit we were not sure if carrying on would just take us to one of the old bridges. So while we took a well needed breather Stu did a quick recce for us and then signaled back that it was still part of the course and we then continued to the end of the new section. Thanks to Stu for guiding this another thing ticked on my bucket list.

Ian Bell