Julia Chanourdie interview after Super Crackinette at St. Léger du Ventoux
Interview with French climber Julia Chanourdie who redpointed her first 9a+ last week, Super Crackinette at Saint Léger du Ventoux in France.
Last week at the sleepy French crag Saint Léger du Ventoux Julia Chanourdie climbed her first 9a+, Super Crackinette. It was on this line freed by Germany’s Alexander Megos in 2016 that Adam Ondra made climbing history once again with the historic first-ever 9a+ flash. Chanourdie for her part succeeded after just 17 days of effort and joins the select few women capable of these inordinate difficulties. The other three are currently Margo Hayes, Anak Verhoeven and Angela Eiter who, incidentally, is the only woman to have climbed 9b.
Julia, when did you decide you wanted to try 9a+? How did it come about?
After my Olympics qualification in Toulouse last November I wanted to go and enjoy climbing on rock again, that’s why my boyfriend I decided to go to Saint-Léger. To be honest I didn’t plan on trying a 9a+, but a friend was trying Super Crackinette and watching him made me want to try.
What’s the route like?
It’s a beautiful and powerful route and after discovering it the only thing I wanted to do was crush it. It’s about pulling really, really hard on some many different kinds of holds.
When did you start serious redpoint attempts? How did they go?
I've first tried it in mid-January, during a pretty cold period and I felt good really soon on the moves and quickly started making some serious redpoint attempts. There are two hard cruxes on this route. The first is revolves around pulling on some tiny little crimps with a really long reach to get a mono, and after falling off that move many many times there’s still the second crux. It's supposed to be kind of a "dyno" but there’s also some different beta. This uses some tiny crimps where finger strength is key, but it suits me better. Nevertheless up there I took a lot of falls, but if I’m honest with myself I suppose this was more due to the huge mental battle rather than the physical one ;-)
Did you expect to send the other day?
I felt close on every session during the last few weeks... but last Friday was perfect!. I slept in a tent down by the river, woke up early, warmed up quickly and gave it everything I had ! What a battle!
Talking about battle, you’ve got a big one in store this summer, Tokyo 2020. What springs to mind with these words?
When I read these two words it just makes me want to train hard in order to be as strong as possible and give my very best at the Olympic Games. It’s going to be a magical experience, I can’t wait!
Links: FB Julia Chanourdie, La Sportiva, Petzl