Macumba for Caro, the Bronx for James, as a couple of hats down to old times.
James and I decided this spring to have a tour at Orgon, a french cliff ho so famous, where all the best climbers of the world (Yuji Hirayama, JB Tribout, Stephan Glowacs, François Legrand… and I am missing a lot) trained while trying to FA Macumba (by JB in 92), and then The Bronx (by François Petit in 94). Not that many climbers put their hands anymore in the big roof of Orgon, and we had to clean quite a few cobwebs. Why where the route « abandoned » ? Well, as I said, Macumba and le Bronx were training routes, both nearly entirely chipped. And chipped by big names of the time, Vincent Albrand, François Legrand and JB Tribout. To put things back in context, chipping was OK at the time, as no one had the big overhanging climbing gyms that we climb on today, and, let’s face it, the climbers were inventing the rules of the sport that we know now.
I often call this two routes: magnificent monsters, as the chipping was quite well made, and the routes, even if they are very steep, are still very interesting technically, and damn hard, as well! I think the idea of going back to this routes came actually after we visited “the School”, this awesome “old/new gym that Ben Moon recreated in Sheffield. The School was the training ground of Jerry Moffat, Ben moon and Malcolm Smith from early nineties till 2010. A 50 degres panel, very old holds, sometimes in wood, and the boulders that they did recorded on a notebook. You can try the boulders today… And they are so, so hard!
The Bronx was not quite James’style, and he took quite a few sessions to tick it; but I had a proper battle with Macumba, and it gave me all the time to talk about my little project with the older climbers… I got quite a few amazing stories, quite a lot of different versions of those stories ☺ . What comes out, is that climbers used to have a lot of pride, sometimes arrogance, always big mouths!!! François Petit did the Bronx 3 times in the same day where he FAed it… In front of everyone… I would have loved to be transported back in the time to see that!