by Tim Emmett
Taghia is a beautiful alpine retreat with an elevation of 1900 meters. Surrounded by vast walls, some over 800 meters high, Taghia is a taste of the Himalayas but on a more intimate scale. When you arrive at the village it’s like going back in time. Most of the food available is grown and harvested in the fields surrounding the village.
[Tim Emmett gets to know the locals. PHOTO: Marc Daviet]
One of our key objectives was to find a place where we could climb, jump and high-line. The Sector Cascade, 2000 feet above the village, was the obvious choice. When we first arrived at the village, Seb, Tancrede, Anicet and I decided to make a break for it. We grabbed our base rigs and wing suit and marched up the steep hill.
After an hour or so we arrived at numerous twisted stairs woven out of tree branches, surprisingly stable and oozing with character. After a short scramble we arrived at the top and prepared to jump.
[Walking the cliff stairs. PHOTO: Marc Daviet]
Unfortunately, right when we were about to jump, the heavens opened up. Clouds filled the valley and darkness ensued. Jumping wasn’t an option. We would need to bivy to have the best chance of a jump in the morning.
[The team beds down for the night in order to jump in the morning. PHOTO: Marc Daviet]
The next day, we were greeted by the warm rays of the sun and a light snow dusting on the highest peaks. A cloud inversion filled the valley but soon dispersed, the mist being sucked away as if there was a giant plughole at the end of the sky.
Conditions were perfect and the jump was on! 3…2…1…
[Tim Emmett climbs into his wing suit. PHOTO: Marc Daviet]
Following the contours of the landscape makes wing suit flying around this kind of terrain an amazing experience, especially when you’re the first person to fly it. You are constantly assessing angles, distances, and speed, feeling the air move over your body, trimming your position, diving and swooping. Flying down to the village for breakfast was definitely worth missing dinner and the comfort of a bed for the night!
[Tim Emmett navigates the terrain. PHOTO: Marc Daviet]
Later that day, Emma Twyford and I had noticed tufa veins coating the overhanging cliff under the high line, so we decided to take a look. After an hours walk, we came across an amazing looking route. The line was Arnaut Petit’s masterpiece that ran right up the middle of the overhang, directly underneath our high lining team members.
We both climbed the route, and Emma cranked her way to the top on her first go. An amazing effort! In the meantime, the Skyliners, who had set up their high line in Tinik Fsin at a height of 2600 meters, looked like miniature puppets on a string.
[High lining high above Taghia. PHOTO: Marc Daviet]
Moments later, we got the call on the radio. “Jumping. Jumping one minute.”
The sky filled with numerous falling bodies. CRACK, CRACK, CRACK. Parachutes opened. Seb jumped with his wing suit and flew off into the distance right in front of us. It was like a human fireworks display in the sky.
The amount of unclimbed rock in the area is astounding. It really is a perfect warm-up for climbing in the Greater Ranges.
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