My Biggest Project in Font by Caroline Sinno
I've been trying this boulder named La 'Cicatrice de l'Ohm' in Font since the end of last summer. It might seem weird to be climbing in Font during the summer but we had some very cool conditions (cooler than this March actually)! I had never even heard of this boulder before I discovered it. It's located in a very remote and unknown area - La Mare aux Corneilles and I can tell you that almost no one climbs there (except me at the time ha!). When I first saw it, it's was like this: imagine you are going down a little valley and then you see this big majestic boat-shaped bloc right in front of you. I was so surprised by its beauty and the rock quality. It is a very logical line following the rock formation. I am still surprised it's so unknown. A parte here: since I first discovered it last fall, it's been done by many famous climbers. It isn't as quiet as before and sadly the area has been damaged. I found it pasted with chalk and some climbers stole the pad I left under a roof nearby :( So if you are willing to try it please be respectful of the area. It is very wild and sometimes I feel like I should have never written my first blog on it in the first place last fall..But let's get back to the climbing.
1/ I knew it was my climb since I first tried it.
It's about tension in a roof for the first section, then some hard shoulder moves on crimps for the crux moves. And a heel "over the head" for the finish. It requires core, flexibility and holding tiny holds. My type!! The only problem was that it was quite long - about 15 moves and that the crux for me was almost at the end. Plus the fact that I am pretty short ,and the feet were super hard to keep on the only foothold on the right..
2/ The Process.
Figuring out the beta was fun. The first move was the hardest one for me, and I had to get used to it as it is very powerful. I rapidly had the climb in 3 parts but it was still 30°C outside so sending would have been muy hard.. I had to be patient (which is not easy for me) and wait until November to really start trying The link. So I became very excited and only thinking of trying this climb when I was going to Font.
As it is not skin friendly I had max 5/6 tries per session. I had to experiment with a new oil (Skincare oil by Crimp Oil) for regrowing skin very quickly. I also decided to climb traverses afterward because I needed to get fit. Plus only trying 1 project is not satisfying. It can be also hard mentally because you need to succeed sometimes. I was always falling at the same move over and over (more than 20 times).. I almost let go. I got a side project and I climbed this very nice 8b trav Le Miroir des Vanités at Rempart. La Cica was not climbable from Christmas until March as the only good hold seeps (this is why I'm cleaning my hands on my leggings in the video) or it's just very cold (my hands were numb and I couldn't feel the tiny crimps anymore). It seems like I have a lot to excuses and the main problem was that I wasn't strong enough. I had the strength to do the moves and do it in 2 parts but I didn't have the short strength endurance for the full link.
3/ Back to the basics of ... training!!
I told you I had doubts and I was about to let go. I had seen a lot of 'training posts' all over the social media and most of my friends were training. I was the only one not doing anything and only climbing ha. I got inspired by Thomas Ferry who is training top climbers and is trying to make a really science of it. He analyses the results/datas of many work-outs and schedules them in intelligent cycles depending on your goals. He also has trained several girls because girls don't work the same.. I am very happy that I started training with him because I see plenty of results only after one cycle. When you're peaking it's so satisfying!! I also enjoy doing short training sessions in addition to climbing only outdoors. I don't go to the climbing gym anymore :) only Font and a pull-up bar plus some Thera bands at home. Thomas also trained me mentally but I cannot tell you how. It is a lot of unconscious suggestions. We exchange on the phone, messages and mails and even if I was doubtful it is working very well.
4/ The Come Back.
Boosted by some cool outdoor sends like a couple of 8As in Targasonne and Le Miroir in Rempart, plus I feeling fit with training and climbing more outside, I decided to go 'back at it' two weeks ago. It took me one session to do the moves again plus another 2 sessions to get my fitness back. In the end, I had a very luck day with a lot of wind - that counts a lot in Font, even more than the temps. I knew I was strong enough when I was warning up because I did the pretty hard sitstart of Festin de Pierre in Cuvier near Duroxmanie. Then I headed to La Cica and only tried the crux once. And I did it first go without any hesitation!! I was a truly magical moment that rarely happens (for me) in climbing.
I feel really happy with the experience of the whole process and I feel like I've started to understand what very strong climbers experience in the ups and downs of projecting..I am excited to move on but maybe I would like to open something new on that bloc for next season :)
As for the grade I think it's more a solid 8A+ than 8B, if I'm being honest with myself. Looks like I still need to climb my first 8B then..