6th place in Serre Chevalier 2009

After our last few training sessions in Grenoble, me, Felipe, and Cesar headed up to Serre Chevalier to compete in the 20th International Masters Event. We got there a couple days early and ended up watching the finals for the youth comp, and got a glance at what the wall would be like. It wasnt so tall or steep, but full of crazy volumes the whole way. After the youth comp we got the chance to climb on their finals routes, which was cool since I could see how my shape was compared to the other Junior males. I tried their finals and super finals route and endede up falling on the finish moves of both, which would have put me in first place, had I competed. I was syked, seeing that I was in better shape then expecting, and felt very motivated to try and step it up in the Masters. I ended up climbing right in the middle of the group in qualifiers, which was nice because I didnt have to be first but also didnt have to wait too long in isolation. The bottom of the qualifiers route was really easy, so as I climbed I felt really confident for the upper part.

The beginning..

Midway there was a tricky mantle on a volume, where you had to get your feet really high in order to balance well. Cesar didnt get his feet up, as a lot of others, and ended up falling here. After this the route got a little more powerful on smaller holds, and right at the end were three really hard moves before mounting a big volume and clipping the anchors. After figuring out the tricky mantle midway, I still felt pretty fresh and climbed the next part fast, and ended up reaching the top pretty easily, a big surprise!

The mantle, and the top

Although the routesetters said the route was graded 8b, I felt it a bit easier, maybe 8a+, but definately more physchological difficult then physically (maybe more my style?) 4 others ended up also topping the route: Sean McColl, Tomas Mrazek, Sylvain Millet, and Manu Romain. The biggest surprises were that Klemen Becan and Aurelien Culvier (two really strong World Cup competitors) didnt end up making the finals, and Felipe also missed finals by running out of time just before the last crux. Anyways I was really syked as I had never qualified so well in an international comp, and felt really confident going into finals the next day.

The finals was really interesting because the routes were after work, where each competitor has 28 minutes to work the route, and then one try during the comp to get as high as possible. For the men, the route was probably around 8b+/8c, and around 8b for the women. The mens route was reall well set, with an easy part at the beginning, then a crux coming out the roof, a good rest, another technical crux on a volume, and finally a tricky bouldery finish. I figured out all the moves pretty fast and none of them felt too crazy, so I was pretty confident I could send it if I didnt mess up. Since I usually spend most of my climbing trips trying hard projects, redpointing is a lot easier for me then onsighting, so this format fit me pretty well! In the comp try my foot slipped in the first roof and I almost fell, but luckily the hold was pretty good so I was able to hold the swing and keep climbing. I climbed fast to the big rest and rested a lot, and felt fresh again entering the next part, the technical volume section. I also climbed this part fast and made it to the last part pretty easily, and at the last section got a really bomber hand jam in a big crack (yes, there was a big crack on a comp route..) and was able to recover well and climb to the top!

Resting in a kneebar I found, just before the top section

5 others also ended up topping the finals: Sean McColl, Manu Romain, Valeriy Kryukov, Fabrice Landry, and Tomas Mrazek. Therefore, 6 people made it to the super-finals, which was a hard onsight route later that night.

Previewing the super-finals

For some reason, I dont really know why, they put me as the last climber in the super-finals. This meant that after we proviewed the route, we warmed up a bit then all got taken out at the same time to an outside isolation. Since it was already late at night, and Serre Chevalier is up in the mountains, it was around 8 degrees Celsius when the first climber started. I had to wait over 30 minutes before it was my turn, so when I finally got to climb, my body was totally cold. I started climbing and by the 2nd clip, I already couldnt feel my fingers. As I entered the roof section there was a hard come-in move from one crimp to another, and as I was doing it my hand slipped off the hold and I fell, pretty low on the route. I ended up 6th as the other super-finalists went a lot higher, which kind of sucked since I wasnt pumped at all, just slipped because of my cold fingertips. I was a little dissapointed after climbing but then in the end, at least I climbed really well on the other two routes and either way ended up winning money and being on the stage. Doing so well in an International Adult comp is definately a step up for me, and really motivating to focus on more competitions in the future.

The bottom of the super-finals route

After the comp, I stayed one day in Ceuse and hung out with some friends, then drove to Spain the next day. Now Im in Rodellar, syked to get back on my projects from last time (Inconformistas, El Quiebralay, the route I bolted, etc), so for the next two weeks I will focus on completing as many of these as possible!