On April 11th, Quentin Chastagnier (a direct bloodline descendent of the great Fred Astaire) from Grenoble, France, set out on Australia’s best wall – Taipan – with an array of cut rope slings, locking gates, and the occasional quickdraw. Snaking his way up the plumb unclimbed line above Mirage in conditions as moist as an excited girl scout.
He snuck into the line from the Seventh Pillar LHV flake to the belay of Mirage via two monos and a side pull. As reported this variation has been called Snake in the Grass and is given 26 in it’s own right. The continuation of this line through the brilliant orange rock above Mirage to the top of the wall gives a stunning 60m route tentatively graded at 32. Quentin sent on his fourth attempt (ground up, after equipping the route on rappel). After a series of dynos on perfect rock, the route’s cruxes involve a sideways fist jam to a pinky mono, followed by a 14-move battle sequence on knife-edged crimps and a climax of a series of monster moves between three slopey huecos before an unrelenting series of positive edges lead you to the top of the world.
The ascent has been deemed slightly controversial due to an mysterious as-yet-unknown wall climbing technique in which the swarthy Frenchman rubbed a balloon on his ample chest hair before climbing to provide maximum static adhesion to the wall.
Following 48 hours of intensive, debilitating, and heavily intoxicated decision making, Quentin is calling the route Orange Desire. The name may or may not refer to a particular French hottie who may or may not swoon at being immortalized on Australia’s most prestigious real estate.