Sebastien Berthe on flashing Le Voyage, E10 7a

August 4, 2023

Written by Rhino Admin

Rhino pro athlete Sébastien Berthe flashed Le Voyage (8b+/E10) in Annot, considered as one of the hardest trad routes in France in April 2023. And below is his note:

I thought about trying this route since the first time I saw info from Jame Pearson doing the first ascent back in 2017. The wall and the route looked so perfect. Then when Jacopo, Siebe and Babsi did it not long ago, I thought it would be nice and challenging to give it a ground-up attempt.

In the beginning of this week, I went for a short trip in Annot (France) in order to give a ground-up attempt. I knew I was in great shape and I took the opportunity of having my Scottish friend Robbie Phillips working the route so I could have good info about the route and the betas.

I spent one entire day looking at the route, collecting betas and info from Robbie and Mathieu Miquel (a french young climber who also sent it this week). I also spent quite some time watching videos and pictures from all the previous ascensionists. I had to remember everything: footholds, handholds, gears, … There is so much info to keep in mind… How and where to put the gear? Where to rest? What beta to choose depending on my fatigue? I am really proud of the work I made there, a true studying mission.

On the day of the ascent, I woke up a bit nervous… Always the case with flash attempts: you only have one chance ahah. I warmed-up (which didn’t start that well actually because I fell on my second 7a…), organized my harness with gears put in the good side of the harness and the right order, revisualised the route in my mind,… and went for it in the middle of the afternoon. The conditions were not that good, it was warm, but there was a small and nice breeze and I was too excited to wait for another day.

On the first easy part, I didn’t climb very well: I was shaky and nervous. But as soon as the hard part began I felt better and climbed really fast with a great flow. I didn’t make many mistakes  (apart from one moment where I almost fell, on an easier section), until the crux where I gave everything to make it happen… And it happened! I was through the boulder, still on the wall, shaking my forearms to recover for the last section. The final bit isn’t that hard but is still a bit tricky. I climbed really slowly and carefully on the final crack!

It is the first flash-ascent of this route, and maybe, as far as I know,  the first time someone flashes a trad route of that grade.

It was a great moment of my climbing life, and I am really happy I dared try it flash.

Rhino Admin
Author: Rhino Admin

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