The Reunion Expedition Logo
Caroline Ciavaldini
James Pearson
Sam Elias
Jacopo Larcher
Yuji Hirayama
Technical Sponsor:
edelrid

La Réunion

My first experience of ground up climbing

IMG_20130610_073425 It’s 7am. Everyone wakes up with own timing and own feeling around this time. I wake up by sounds of boiling water, that is the song for a starting day.


We camp out in the middle of La Réunion island, where the nearest town is called Cilaos and our camp site is about 1.30h of hiking from Cilaos.


The landscape around us is volcanic, and in front of this camp site stands a 130m beautiful basaltic wall; this time we want to climb up this beautiful basalt wall with the international team.







By the way I didn’t have any idea about La Réunion island until I met Caroline, but as soon as I met her I started to know the origin of the island and I was interested more especially in the culture; they are a mix culture. Caroline explained me that the goal of this trip would be to open a new route on this wall with own ideas and multi national team, and I was wondering what was coming up with this mix team on La Réunion island!!!!

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I arrived on the 5th of June after Caro, James, Jacopo had arrived and most of things had been prepared by them. The next day on the 6th, Sam arrived from US: all the team members were here on La Réunion Island and we started to hike up for our biggest target of this trip. After we made the Base Camp we started to talk about how to proceed with the new lines.
First we checked the wall from the ground.

Caro and James have the idea to make a new line but it’s so hard to imagine how the route goes up to the top from the ground. Sam, Jacopo and I went to the left side of the wall which seemed to have a little bit of possibility. We climbed up on the jungle with a machete for 1 hour and we arrived at the base of our imagined line but our hope was crushed in a minute. The rock is kind of lose and dirty and it doesn’t hold much!

After this happened I was nearly decided to open a single pitch of sport line, but luckily James and Caro’s line was going good and they asked me to open the 2nd pitch: it started with a beautiful split crack so I just jumped on the line with easy mind.

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But reality wasn’t easy…
After 15m of climbing there is nothing to protect me to go next 8m and it’s looked very hard. I wasn’t sure that there will be the place to protect or not… so i decided to come down with the last piece and I explain to James about how I was feeling and then he just started to climb and safely he added a bolt with ground up style.

What surprised me, was his skill to add higher bolt with hooks between hard moves and going far from the previous protection; he is so calm and he hasn’t shown how it was difficult.
I knew how hard was the climbing… plus he placed the blot on hooks. I was surprised how he can manage to put the bolt… my first experience of ground up climbing has just started by this pitch.

IMG_20130610_091034 Day 3rd, 9th of June

Jacopo and Sam have joint the game and we climbed 1st and 2nd pitch by free and we opened 4th pitch by ground up style!!!


It’s still 2 or 3 pitch to go to top but our team in one route all together and helping each other.


I don’t know what will be the result at the end of this trip but we are making this one route all together in a mix culture, mix population of La Réunion island now.

Stay with us!!!!!