This health degree program I am currently studying in has been very demanding and time consuming. I am in the third and last year of it, and this fall climbing outdoor has been limited by a rigorous school schedule, and had to take the backseat, despite me.
Shifting back into academic gears after spending almost 2 months climbing full time in Céüse definitely wasn’t easy. Admittedly, my inability to climb outside much this fall is just about every person except for professional climbers may have to deal with, though, nonetheless getting about 5 days total for outdoor climbing since the end of August wasn’t much!
Céüse... for anyone who hasn't been there, well yes, the climbing is pretty phenomenal, especially if you're into technical-climbing-that's-very-sustained. This type of climbing was targeting several of my weaknesses, so Céüse was an excellent training ground that taught me a lot.
Warming up, Demi-Lune sector. Picture by KappaPhotography
It’s a place that takes a bit of time to get into, but it's all worthwhile in the end, with payment in a stunning view from the crag, good weather throughout the summer and a social/friendly community of climbers. The campsite was full of life, packed with friendly people from all over the place. It was great to get back into the scene and simple lifestyle, meet bunches of new people and hearing about standards/motivations/scenes/weather in other countries worldwide.
Face de rat (8a+ / 5.13c), Face de rat sector. Picture by Dylan Connole
It was my first trip there, and definitely an amazing one. I was really inspired by this area and simply climbed as much as I could: one day hard routes, next day onsighting beautiful looking lines, no matter what the level was. This turned out to be a good strategy, as I managed to climb a lot of routes from my wish-list. Some routes I have onsighted or sent and that I could definitely recommend are:
- Blocage violent (7b+ / 5.12c)
- Bibendum (7b+ / 5.12c)
- L’errance d’une passion (7c / 5.12d)
- Teuchipa (7c / 5.12.d)
- Mirage (7c+ / 5.13a)
- Makach Walou (7c+ / 5.13a)
- La couleur du vent (8a / 5.13b)
- Petit Tom (8a / 5.13b)
- Face de rat (8a+ / 5.13c)
- Encore (8a+ / 5.13c)
- L'ami de tout le monde (8b / 5.13d)
Shortly before leaving Céüse, I summoned up the courage to join the hoards of holiday climbers on the slabs at the Demi-Lune sector to get to the impressive roof above: Radote Joli Pépère 8b / 5.13d. I gave a couple of good go on this line, but didn’t send it as I needed more time to work on the last boulder on the route.
Taking a few deep breaths before giving a go on the last crux of
Radote Joli Pépère (8b / 5.13d). Picture by KappaPhotography
Working through the crux of Radote Joli Pépère. Picture by KappaPhotography
Much easier climbing right before the ancor on this stunning line! Picture by KappaPhotography
The amount of quality routes in Céüse can be overwhelming. Every sector has classic after classic all within a few meters of each other. The Berlin sector was one of my favorite. It's a gently overhanging wall, with a large concentration of beautiful, technical and sustained lines. If you are ever planning to visit Céüse you should definitely spend at least one day at this sector.
La couleur du vent (8a / 5.13b), Berlin sector. Picture by KappaPhotography
As you spend the time thinking about your next line or project, the notorious +/- one-hour approach to the base of the cliff quickly flies by. Besides the Cascade sector, Céüse is in the sun until 2-3 p.m. I would climb until 9 or 10pm most days: this makes for leisurely mornings and late nights.
There is steepness in Céüse... Picture by KappaPhotography
All good things come to an end...
It felt great to come back from France at the end of August with fitness in the tank, but I didn’t get to see how it would transfer on hard routes back home. I went straight back to school and instead of climbing outdoor, I trained hard in the gym, and focused on sport specific training, including strength training and cross training.
Since last Wednesday, it has been refreshing to be totally removed from school, enjoying life and winter. For the last couple of weeks, my temper and patience were starting to become strained. Therefore, this has been a welcome and necessary break. At the beginning of January I will be in for my last semester of school, one which will be packed with more training, competition, and hopefully more outdoor climbing!
Have a happy holiday season!