Nicolas Favresse repeats Cobra Crack, Squamish, Canada
On 18/07/2008 Nicolas Favresse made the second ascent of Cobra Crack, first climbed by Sonnie Trotter at Squamish, Canada in 2006.
Nicolas Favresse and Sean Villanueva from Belgium are on the road once again, this time in Canada where on 18/07/2008 Favresse carried out the first repeat of Cobra Crack, the 30m overhanging pristine finger-crack freed by Sonnie Trotter in June 2006 at the Cirque of the Uncrackables, Squamish. With a recent repeat of "Greenspit" (8b+, Orco Valley, Didier Berthod, 2003) still fresh in his mind, Favresse sent us his thoughts about the Cobra Crack
Cobra Crack, Cirque of the Uncrackables, Squamish, Canada
I am super psyched! It's an amazing line and piece of climbing. It took me 15 tries to do it over 8 days, plus one run three years ago. It was hard for me not only because of the physical challenge but also because it bites your fingers so I could only give two tries a days and sometimes on the second try it was already too painful. What's more, I could only go up there once every three days in order for my fingers to be recovered and fresh.
Most of the time when I work a hard route I just get training sessions on it, doing the crux moves over and over so I get stronger and eventually build up the power for the whole route. On this climb this wasn't possible. I could only do some of the moves once before the skin pain became too much. This description probably sounds horrible, but in fact the route is really fun and enjoyable to climb.
The moves on the Cobra are really unique and unusual. At first the route felt nearly impossible and even if I've done a lot of crack climbing I'm not used to such crack difficulty. But the learning process of the moves went really fast and on my third day on it (5th try) I went up to check the moves and much to my surprise I fell right at the top. Before that try I wasn't really sure if I would be able to do it, after that though I knew it was in my reach.
About the grade: it's hard to tell and it probably depends a bit on your finger size. I have pretty fat fingers and in this case I think fatter fingers could be OK. There are many different ways of doing the sequences, that's what's really nice about such a climb. It's definitely the hardest trad I have ever done. At first The Cobra crack felt like 5.14c or even d. But now that I understand the moves better, I think it feels more like 5.14b to me. But hard 5.14b, considering the nature of the climb, that you have to place the pro and that the Cobra bites on the fingers! The only cure for it was to eat as many Belgian fries as possible!