Stefano Ghisolfi, a year after climbing Biographie

Stefano Ghisolfi talks about his return to Céüse in France a year after having repeated Biographie. It's a chance to remember those moments with a video that documents his ascent of this legendary sports climb freed by Chris Sharma in 2001.
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Stefano Ghisolfi repeating Biographie 9a+ at Céüse in France
Gianluca Bosetti

A year after having climbed Biographie I returned to Céüse. The approach path is the same as always, an hour uphill though the forest and past the boulders, but if the crag continues to be one of the most popular in world despite this long walk, there must be a reason. The reason is that it’s considered one of the most beautiful crags in the world, perhaps the most beautiful even, and right up there, right in the middle of that sheet of limestone, I walked past the most beautiful route of all, the most famous at the crag and perhaps the most famous cutting-edge route in the world. The same quickdraws were hanging off the bolts, my first quickdraw was still up there, in-situ since my attempts last year. At the base of the climb there’s the same cairn over a meter and a half high, legend has it that Chris Sharma created it by adding a stone every time he attempted his project. And now, in addition to the name Biographie written on the rock, there’s also a dedication to Remy Bergasse, the young member of the French climbing team who died last year and who I met below Biographie, he was trying it, too.

A year has passed since I walked up that path for the first time to try Realization (this was the name Sharma gave he route when he freed it) and 14 years have passed since he carried out the first ascent. Graded 9a+, in doing so he set an new standard. Twenty years have passed since Arnaud Petit climbed the first section of the route, graded 8c+, the section on which I personally struggled more, seeing that I needed four days just to make it to the first anchor.

I spent 6 days in total trying to get to the top of the route, three weekends sufficed for me to add my name to the list after Chris Sharma, Sylvain Millet, Patxi Usobiaga, Dave Graham, Ethan Pringle, Ramón Julián Puigblanque, Enzo Oddo, Jonathan Siegrist, Alexander Megos, Adam Ondra and Sachi Amma.

These are the names of those who redpointed the route before me, and in 2016 another name was added, namely Jon Cardwell who with great perseverance and determination completed his project after at least 70 attempts split over 10 years. I met him last year as he tried the moves again and again; he easily reached the final moves but then he kept falling off there, from the last bouldery crux, improving ever so slightly with each go. A year later I met him again, on better form than ever ebfore, his motivation hadn’t ebbed in the slightest and this enabled him to send Biographie.

After my send, in 2016 I returned to Ceuse to try another route, Le Cadre Nouvelle, a 9a I completed faster than expected: I only needed 5 attempts spread out over two days. Luckily Ceuse still holds many other climbs and so many other difficult projects, as hard or even harder than Biographie, and so I’ll always be ready to follow that path and look upwards, searching for the next challenge.

by Stefano Ghisolfi

23/06/2015 - Stefano Ghisolfi climbs Biographie 9a+ at Céüse
At Ceuse in France Stefano Ghisolfi has repeated Biographie 9a+

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