La Colombe

FA Grade:

8C

First Ascent:
David Graham - November 29, 2016
Area:
Vernayaz
Style:
Boulder Problem
Notes:
15 moves

Ascent 1 of La Colombe by David Graham

Date of Ascent:

November 29, 2016

Suggested Grade:

8C

Notes:

Media:

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VIDEO: David Graham sending La Colombe.
“Well....This boulder is amazing. Incredible rock, and bizarre moves, it is a classic example of how cool climbing on granite can get. I first tried this line in 2006, when it was still a closed project, thought it was amazing, but moved on to other rigs. This trip was rather impromptu, and I wasn't sure of where I would be climbing, but the first day in Valais I went to Vernayaz since the weather was grim, and saw it again after ten years. I was immediately intrigued, and had forgotten how beautiful the rock and line was. It is quite large in person, this video doesn't do it much justice, but its this bizarre half prow half dihedral feature. I got to work figuring out the moves, and started trying to link some sections. I realized it was possible from the middle, but there was a lower start, which seemed really intriguing, and clearly where the boulder naturally wanted to embark from. After trying a couple things which felt impossible, I dawned the double knee pads and found a crazy solution, pushing my kneebar skills to a new level, as the positions where still and contortionist, founding balance was bizarre, yet somehow you could wish yourself through and connect the positions. I tried another day from the lowest start, and realized the holds were actually too small and condition dependent too succeed for myself with the 12 degrees we had. It would have to be cold, as the crux holds where small, flat, and the frictions on this stone is quite slippery in a way, a very hard granite. I waited for better weather while trying another problem, and returned on a really cold day, somehow the weather forecast was true, and it ws 2 degrees, humid, but cold enough potentially. I warmed up, did all the moves, got my skin as cold as I could, and hoped for the best. On the drive there that day I realized I could extend my ticket, and still fail to send even with great weather. Its this strange climbing where you can just clip of the shit feet, or dry fire off a hold, feeling amazing. Success was a bizarre concept as I had worked it so little, and was very used to punting and failing, when I was very close to sending, and confident that I would send. A subtle doubt entered my mind, which may have been the ticket to success. Somehow, I was not expecting to send this climb, maybe on a mother trip, but being a climber ,I tried to be positive, hope for the best, and just try it regardless, even if it fucked my skin and might be a futile objective for the time of year. I set up the camera, opted for not to ask for a spot even though its a bit sketch with a lot of jagged rocks in the landing. Set off, moved quickly, and was in the crux. I was half bummed, I had linked the start, I was certain i would eat shit off the ending move, a bizarre knee scum which is really powerful to engage, to a very slick strange sloper. I climbed, and in the doubt I just kind of winged it, gave it all, felt the fall coming, but nope, with these kneescums you can get some crazy sensations. I held fast and had the grip, finished it up ( even though I had fallen matching before the jug and that freaked me out) and holy shit, a non punt!! 4 days of work, and holy shit, what a boulder!!! Bizarre technical smears, slick holds, big positions, small boxes too, its super cool. I am pretty confused about the grade, but before I climbed it I was convinced it was 8c...When I climbed the boulder it felt really hard, like an 8c feels... But I worked it alone, and the KNEE BARS. Theres like 8. Not sure how others are gonna jive with them, yet not sure what in the hell one could do without them. The boulder isn't normal, we can say, thus its not a normal one to grade either. I am gonna have some faith in my perspective and go for the 8c grade, maybe not a high end one but fuck it. It was my conclusion after the preliminary work, but its rare for me not to punt and fail for days on end when I know I can climb something, and as I didn't punt and fail unnecessarily this time, it makes me doubt myself haha. We will see what people think and see what beta comes along, its not a shit problem so the grade shouldn't mean much in the long run...”

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