Home > Comps, Setters > Forerunning For French Team Selection

Forerunning For French Team Selection

Old modular Entreprise World Cup Walls.  I saw these in a different form in a park in Font some 11 years ago, and here they are again, indoors, and still in use.  They just build new wood sections to fill in the form they want and add volumes til they’re satisfied.  | Jackie Hueftle

The Bouldering World Cup season is almost upon us, and over here in Europe (where most of the World Cups happen) the French Team had a competition to choose which athletes would be sent to the first 3 events.  The selection event is essentially a French National Championship, and it was arranged by none other than the infamous Jacky Godoffe, who has been a figure in the world climbing scene for an incalculably long time (he is now 54 years old) as a climber, competitor, first ascentionist, and route setter. In his local area of Fontainebleau he has put up over 64 boulder problems, including such famous problems as Hypothése (7C+), C’Était Demain (the forest’s first 8A), Big Boss, Tristesse, and Fourmis Rouges (3/4ths of the Big 4), Partage (8A+), and Total Éclipse (8A+).  Jacky will also be the chief coursesetter for this year’s IFSC Bouldering World Cup in Vail and also the one in Canada.

Jacky on one of his first ascents--Partage 8A+ | bleau.info

Other setters for the event were Manuel Hassler (Manu) from Switzerland (who was chief setter for the Vail World Cup 2 years ago) and a fellow named Marc Daviet  (aka “P’tit Marc) who is also a chief World Cup setter, has also been climbing forever and has opened many problems, and who has started a hold company called Freestone that makes sweet holds–some of which were on the problems we were trying.  So to review, that is 3 World Cup International Chief setters setting this event.

When forerunning I particularly liked Marc’s technical style, and we spent a bit of time in particular on his slab (you can see the white hold and two feet for the mantle in the right of the picture below).

Mathieu and Tondé checking out a men's slab problem | Jackie Hueftle

I was the only female forerunner and about 8 guys showed up to help run the 16 problems that made up semis and finals.  We started on the slab and quickly moved on to the two freestanding boulders.  The problems were hard, and I mean really hard.  All of them.  I am definitely not going to make the French National Team, but neither were any of the other forerunners.  Men’s and Women’s problems were hard to distinguish from each other by looking at them or by climbing them and only three or four problems got sent the entire day–the problem that was supposed to be Women’s semi 1, another women’s problem that may have been started a move or two in, and both slabs.

Manu pressing into the women's mantle | Jackie Hueftle

The rest…well…there were entire moves that did not get climbed.  But most of the forerunners left around 3pm, and I left two hours after that, and the setters stayed much later to finish setting/tweaking/etc… so I’m sure they eased things up a little bit.  On the other hand, I talked to my friend Lucas Menegatti who competed in the event, and he said it was super difficult and that barely any problems got sent.  Apparently this was intentional, as Tondé told me that Jacky told him they wanted the problems to be punishing and require perfection (i.e. you won’t find wild throws and campus moves here, just balance, power, and perfect tension).

Emmi finishing a women's compression problem. It was probably at least 7C (V9) when we started trying it.

In between bouts of climbing I explored the old army gymnasium that had been converted into the climbing gym.  Here are some pictures:

The guys told me this campus board "sucks", but I liked the ball holds. All perfectly smooth and carved out of wood!

They color code their climbing holds, and most of them are old and super smooth--not the sticky texture we've come to expect in the US. | Jackie Hueftle

The shower room is really nice for washing holds!

Everyone trying the dyno-to-undercling-volume

So there it is.  I had a good time, I learned a little, and got so tired that I had to rest for almost 3 days afterward.  It’s ok though, the weather here has been full-on Spring, which is nice for the hanging out but a bit hot for climbing hard unless you’re lucky enough to be warmed up and in the right place with a breeze and the perhaps 1/2 hour of passable early morning temps.  So let’s all enjoy the flowers and pray for a cold snap.  Two more weeks!

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