The next level
posted on April, 2016


This past winter, my main goal was to climb a route graded M14. In
my previous trip to Colorado one year before I had already tried a
great route called “The Mustang” but that time I did not feel well
physically, so I decided to come back to the Amphitheatre in Vail
this January and give it another try. This amazing route starts on a
waterfall called “Seventh Tentacle”, graded WI5 and of 20 meter
hight. On Top of this it goes into the roof and traverses the whole
cave for a 20 meter of completely horizontal climbing, before
finishig on some thin ice. A total of 45 meters of climbing, so it can
be called quite an endurance route. Already at the warm-up climb i
felt much better than the previous year and the second day I could
climb flash the route “Reverse Stratofortress”, M12+, which was the
hardest flash climb ever for me. This route that crosses half of the
roof, linked toghether with “the Lightning”, gives “the Mustang”,
M14-. The fourth day of climbing at this crag I could climb the
whole Mustang and was super happy.
Back home I had another project waiting for me. “Low G man”,
situated in my home crag Iseo, had been established by the strong
French climber Jeff Mercier last year and links a route with a very
long single move, with the upper part of “Kamasutra”, of which I
had done the first ascent in 2014. I had previously tried the single
crux but was not able to do the move. I could get the hold but not
take the ice axe off the other hold. I was too streched, so I thought I
was simply too small to do the route. But I did not want to believe
that I was not able to do the route, so I tried again this winter and
found a solution with my legs. So it was possible! After a not so
satisfying home competition in Rabenstein I brought our visiting
American friends Ryan and Susan to climb in Iseo. The anger about
my failing in the comp was still inside me and beeing very
motivated, I did a very good attempt. I suprised myself just
climbing past the crux move and then on for all the overhanging
upper part, until a hole broke just a few meters before the anchor
where you are already on easier terrain. So another failing.
The next day a trip to the famous French DryTooling Mekka L’Usine
was on the program and I was really psyched to climb there for the
first time. Thanks to the perfect tips of the local Gaetan Raymond I
was able to flash “Next level”, D13 and so to increase my flash level
a second time in one season!
This gave me the right motivation to try again “Low G man” and I
managed to clip the anchor of this, for me for sure not much
congenial and so even more satisfying route, graded D14.
Photos Zach Mahone, Pierre Chauffour and Monia Gaibotti