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Cave uprising

>>One moon ago we found ourselves with four tightly jammed in our climbing ambulance, racing along the Meuse river. Supreme Dimension called.

Too late. Deluge had come. We found Beez besprinkled with soaking backpacks and backpackowners. Climbing church wasn't open for these lost souls. But a few kilometer from Beez satan did keep his gate ajar for us, least we have no other explanation.


Next thing we gaped around, like Jimmie Angel must have, after he crashed on top of a table mountain into Venezuelan jungle. Our eyes shot up. From dark holes in the rock we felt something peer down. Meanwhile vines' restless tentacles grabbled beneath for us in the abyss. Daunting as it all was, the roof sheltered from the constantly pouring rainforest madness. Backpacks opened. We got more relaxed. And then... did we know.. as our hearts skipped a beat: there it was.

Had we been warned. Tiny hairs in our ears trembled revoking the whispering, recalling to mind the mysterious stranger who lived to tell the tale. For a moment we were back in the dark bar where we gained the dirtbag's trust. We recounted the scarred adventurer's cold sweat as he opened up and eventually, caught off guard, diminuendo muttered the Modave thing... Glucose Pour le Moineau.. 'till all of a sudden he realized the indiscretion of such extraversion and he closed shut.


Internet stock photo of Huy.


Adventurers. Don't be at ease, don't be fooled. The thing, last located in Marchin, is NOT named after the peaceful nearby village of Modave. Following etymological speculation does more right to the dreadful fate that awaits those who bump into this manufacture of pitch black night forces (with a little help from Merriam Webster dictionary):

MONSTER (English, Swedish, Dutch, German, Danish, Norwegian), MONSTRE (French, Catalan), MONSTRUM (latin), MONSTRO (Galician, Portuguese), MONSTRUO (Spanish), MOSTRO (Italian), монстр (Russian), MONSTRU (Romanian) a thing that seems to live, of strange or terrifying shape, of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty
DAVER (transitive Scottish verb) to stun, to daze, to stupefy, make senseless, groggy, or dizzy by or as if by a blow, to overcome especially with paralyzing astonishment or disbelief; to make inactive, to deaden and shiver, shudder, have an intense shivery sensation, a chill down your spine, to experience a sensation of coldness


The first chaotic confrontation.. face to face with the bloodcurdling Modave thing.. Hrrrrrr... Still from time to time shraphnel of memories spike my nightmares. At least on the aftermath the four of us can frantically inform you. You hear that right. All four of us survived that fateful day. The miracle of this feat will be hard to grasp for now reader. Later.

Little helicopters who went against Godzilla. Only they realize how we were dropped from the sky. Only a squeezed out toothpaste tube knew how done we felt. And only a porcelain in an elephant shop related to how awfully we withstood. On the VH-scale Glucose is graded 'BL+'.. Beyond limit +.. But you need to send before you can grade. All I could grade now was the first few meters.

Benjamin Piraprez.. What have you bolted in the 90's? You Dr. Frankenstein..

Let me down, good lord
I’m pumped and climb like a clown
Strictly biz, we don't play around
Back to the ground, prepare for another round



The Process

Two rainy days later me and Hans left our jobs in the afternoon. We had to go back to process what had happened. So there we were. We kept our head high and went up. First, it didn't make sense immediately. And hanging there didn't help, because, did you ever stop to look well it makes you blind. Or do you sell your car for fuel?

It seemed I was far from strong enough. Impossible. Just won't. Why I even tried I don't know. At least we discerned four pieces in this impossible madness: I) The gates to the roof; II) the part that furiously throws you off countless times; III) the straight up explosive boulder; IV) and the long winding upper roof. You better bring your longest uncut rope when you're going for Glucose (aka 'the 8b').


The landhouse of Roiseux, starring in local legends of deer disappearing, demons and deluge (more).


Each time a voyage
I'm on when I've got to have it
Project you're a perfect (UIAA grade) ten, I wanna get in
Can I go up, so I can win

I wanne find a way to work it
No diggity, I got to give it up, give it up
I wanne see Ondra work it
No diggity, I should bag it up, bag it up

Once it was night, in the safe shelter of home, on the verge of shaking off the madness, ready to leave it behind, to heave a relieved sigh, all of a sudden my face shot red. My shoes?! NO! Go back??? Back to.. THAT?!... Two of the bravest climbers decided to not let me perish just like that on the quest back into the belly of the beast.



Listy Return

At the end of the next work day, each of them appeared at the horizon with a backpack at every possible side. Ride of the valkyries. To Huy! To the start of the wild Hoyoux river and onwards! Beyond early 19th century electrogalvanization steel factories! Into the heart of Condroz! Caroline.. Hendrik.. Take the map and put a cross beyond the Meuse river where once Ogier the Dane, the mythical knight of Charles The Great, abode his cursed new home valley.


Ogier the Dane (Holger Danske) would have lived for at least two decades near Huy.* This statue can be found in Hamlet's castle Kronburg and is sculpted by Hans Peder Pedersen-Dan in 1907.


Pulling draws is my forte
Each and every day, true climber way
Can't get projies out of my mind
I want to free my route all the time

We passed the Triffoys valley and found our way to the flanks of the Hoyoux valley. To doom rock! We dared up the thing once more. I arrived to the half-fingertip holds and my thumb turned out and pressed on the miniscule top of the vertical edge, the good millimetre. And then it happened. There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio than was dreamt of in our philosophy. Lubricated by slug slime my foot moved softly around my soggy shoe. Was it me, was it the rock or was it a breeze of wind that forced me to change my habit? I magically conjured a subtle twist from the right foot or hip. Elephance turned into elegance.

I cut loose into the open air and lost all sense of up, left or right. My left hand reached out for the flat hold. My fingertips clenched it but the rock violently flung me outward. My head said I was falling because the momentum said I should but I stuck and swung back.Several megastrong climbers had claimed this method was impossible. Last year Hans had showed them all wrong with his lunatic own way, repeating part one immediately. I kept on trying Hans' method lately and found a way, now days turned dark later and later. But it had gotten very late so we packed and headed home. June had just begun. We didn't expect to be back soon.




But two weeks later adamant weathergods made our fate far from avertible. Leuven found itself in a heatwave. You reader probably had some emergency space blankets glisteningly covering your windows. You might have woken that day taking shoes from the freezer. Later at work your footwear then went out again as you sneaked an icecold footbath underneath your desk. At that moment the dazzling sun was forcing me, Hans, Taco, Katie and Fré towards the sheltering shade of the terror once again.

East face to the west side
I roll my eyes, each time surprise
Got some tricks in the stash
Stepping up, stay fresh
Fast when it comes to the gas

>I didn't spare the twist. My disbelief got an uppercut. A mono was skipped. I was hanging on higher when everything rational spoke against reality and suggested falling. Like the weed between the streetstones, trampled and run over by streams of dirt, growing, kept down, now I rose. Boom.. I send the first part. From dark spots in the Hoyoux jungle, swayingly fireflies blinked up as to wake each other.


Taco climbing out of the middle of the first part.


I climbed on into the second part with still a little bit of breath. Modave: “ok loser, now what about the continuation into the second part?”. I soon realised we had just been playing in the hall all the time. The real gate opened now. The true monster appeared. Luckily I was not alone. We went home for a minimal rest.

Let me tell you how it goes
Crimps that hurt, holds that verge
Strange beta usurps so freak what you heard




Friday four days later. I'd just got a taste of apocalypse in IKEA's ant nest and was drawn to the soothing cave of godforesaken desperation. Helped by Hans’ beta I prepared for the great gig in the sky. We gave it all. Taco, in the first part, got close to make this day in June the future’s holiday for crazy beta sends. On warm-up me and Hans, in part two, looked to invent something to swoosh through this, like Jean-Joseph Merlin whirled through Huy's streets in 1760, inventing world's oldest known roller skates.

Dealing with Glucose was not considered noble art by all. Some denounced it sounding like it's playing piano by slamming the keys hard. It's not. An outsider spoke of Modave in a way 'Entartete Kunst' was once coined. Then asked me. "Can I use your chalk?" Oh yeah, it's there, in the chalkbag with skulls on, next to the 2m10 escaped prisoner with the scars and the tattoos saying “GRRRRRHAAAOOOJMGKLZ!!”.

You think you're hapless
You don't know what the true crux is
You gotta fly to play
Not just pop up, bang-bang, to make your way


Stefan in part two.


Summer solstice made the sun touch godforesaken black spots it may only reach once a year. After trying some moves I rested and I went up. I lit the fire. With every move the crew down heared grunting as if papabear every time stepped into another room to discover rascality by Goldilocks.

Only in the middle of the second part I could allow myself a blitz pseudo-rest from far moves and weird body positions on undeep bidoigts. I went on for more terrible moves, upwards to the dropknee. A whole chunck of memory misses but somehow I even got onwards and moments or eternities later I put a draw in the chain and almost couldn't clip it from disbelief.


In 1668 Rennequin Sualem built a hydraulic machine on the Hoyoux to pump up water for a fountain of more than 50 meter high. This prototype was a test for the later Machine de Marly on the Seine that had to pump up more water to the fountains of Versailles than the whole of Paris could consume for a living. The historic efforts of decadence in vain, not the Hoyoux or Seine any longer held the record of being pumped at that moment. I did.

Fireflies drifted into the early night.




I took stock: The first part I succesfully climbed, flying on my back, a handful of times. Idem for the fourth. The second part (cut apart) I just send. It would be nice to climb the second immediately leading up to the whole first part, widely considered to be two extra French grades (one letter).

The third ultrashort megaboulder chapter remained to be explored. Linking it to part one and two makes the accessibility go up another French grade (a plus), and it levels up again if you would link all three parts to the long horizontal exposed fourth piece.

Is it possible? Stand up against Glucose's terror? Who knows.. Did Engis II (the first and probably most northerly found Neanderthal, that other little branch at the tree of life) ever come across the forbidding rock, here, 20km from the Awirs cave where the unfortunate kid's skeleton was found? Some things nobody knows.

I wanne see Ondra work it
Holding tight all day, every day
Route's blowing my mind, maybe in time
Glucose, I can send you first try




Belays with lots and lots of thanks to Hans. Shots thanks to Taco and Fré.
Belay thanks to Tom. Shots by Liuba sleeping on the ground. The video features a concerto of birds birds birds..
Machine de Marly on the Seine.


*: Did Ogier the Dane really settle in Huy? Around the time of Charlemagne's death and the treaty of Verdun (843 A.D.) history and legends are hard to tell apart. Sure thing the noormannen in different parts of Scandinavia send out Vikings with spears and provisions to the West and South. On their drakkars the Vikings sailed along the North Sea and up rivers like the Meuse beyond Liège. These people plundered and burned, but they also made political deals in these feudal ages. There are suggestions that Rollo took the deal to protect Paris, establishing also Normandy, while all the way in Istanbul the Viking Varangians came to work as an elite-security team for the Byzantine emperor. Ogier would have struck a similar deal for a Frankish king.