Finally 8a…… and Beta-men!

It’s been a long time coming I feel but finally a couple of weeks ago I managed to send my first 8a…… or did I? The crag is a place called Balme de Yenne and it is near Chambery in France. It is a truly amazing place with some seriously hard climbing. There are 9a’s through a massive cave. The crag has amazing limestone with tufas all over it. It almost looks like it could have been plucked out of Spain!!!

The route I managed to climb was the extension to an amazing 7b called Wall of Confusion. The guide that i had found on the internet claimed this route was 8a but upon looking again I managed to find another guide stating the grade at only 7c+. Speaking to the locals at the crag they did say that the original grade was 7c+ and the top had crumbled away slightly hence the 8a grade now. Still it has put doubt in my mind, I still need to send a genuine real 8a I feel. I am more than happy to have done this route anyway as it is a mega line and so much fun to be on!

The weekend just gone Robbie Phillips, V Man and I were at a place called Foron. This is another amazing place with steep overhanging pockety walls. On a few pervious visits i had a play on a line called A maman ça 7c+/8a, but hadn’t managed to link it all yet. This time i warmed up on a 7a i’d previously done and jumped straight on it. To my surprise i sent it easily, still feeling family fresh at the top. This was amazing and a greta feeling to show that i am clearly doing something right and improving!!! Though still the search for that genuine 8a continues!!!!!!!

After sending A maman ça i didn’t really know what to get on for the rest of the day but then i saw a classic Pourquoi 8b line to the left which Robbie was also psyched for. It was great to get on something a lot harder and feel what the moves were like. They were considerably harder but all felt doable the only thing that put me off were the two crazy beta munchkins sat behind. I don’t mind people giving me a bit of beta on a route just to help out but the general consensus is that if people want beta for something they’ll ask. While I was on Pourquoi the two munchkins behind were constants shouting their beta at me. Left here, right and there, use this crimp, no not that one. Half of the fun of climbing a new hard route is working out the beta and the sequence for yourself. In the end I just got pissed off with them and came down from half way up the route and waited until they had left to try it again. So beta-men to there maybe ask if they would like beta before shouting every single move at a person on the wall!!!

So what’s next? Well I have a little 8a+ project up at a local crag called Le Couteray which I want to get back on soon and i’m also keen to try some other hard routes. Though the search still carries on for the genuine 8a……