Abregnief 8b, April 2006.

20th Aug 2007

I definitely wasn’t climbing my best at the start of my trip to France in April but by the end things had improved a lot. I probably didn’t have my best ever endurance but it was important to me to try and maintain the tiny bit of power it had taken me months to acquire. By redpointing I was continuing to do hard moves. On the down side, this meant I wasn’t hanging around getting pumped and working my endurance. Oh well, you can’t work everything all the time.

I worked up through the grades at St.Leger, onsighted some 7c’s but nothing harder as most of my energies were geared up to my redpoints. I redpointed an 8a+ very quickly and so I felt like it would be good for me to get a serious project; an 8b.

This was a gamble as we only had just over a week left of our trip and obviously you don’t know when you start working a route whether success will come or not and as I’m not really a redpointer, the thought of putting a lot and time and effort into a route for it to result in not much more than some aerial bouldering days, would’ve put a bit of a dampner on the trip.

Nonetheless, I thought the gamble was worth it. I decided to try a route called Abregenief, which I had been secretly looking at the whole trip. The wall really inspired me, not my cup of tea at all as it is very steep but I thought this would do me good.

Abregenief appealed to me because it was on a stunning steep face, with big burly moves but fortunately enough footholds so I could create my own sequences and it was in the shade after 1.30pm. As the temperature was over 25 degrees this was pretty important.

Having not seen anybody on this route it was a bit of a gamble as to whether it would be a good one for me to try, or a waste of time at the close of the trip.

After my first play on it I was completely wasted. It felt so much harder than the 8a+ I’d done. I could hardly string two moves together and the difficulties just seemed to go on and on. My body was aching and my hands were really sore, but I was inspired and liked the moves even though I couldn’t do half of them! I decided to sleep on it. Should I commit more time into it or go for something else?

The next day our van broke down and I ended up having to have three enforced rest days while it was being fixed. This was annoying but as it turned out it did me lots of good and seemed to bring me back with a renewed energy.. When the van was fixed, I decided to go back on Abregenief and it actually felt doable. Light was very slowly appearing at the end of the tunnel. This continued and after having to work out some stupidly fiddly sequences to overcome some big moves, on my fifth day I managed to redpoint it. It felt really good, especially when I looked back and remembered how hard it had been when I first went on it.

It was fantastic to get a route like this done; steep, hard and toatally engrossing.