Euros Take Down High-end 5.14s in France


The Brussels, Belgium–born climber Muriel Sarkany climbed her first 5.14c on Tuesday with Ultimate Sacrifice, a link-up of New Power Generation (5.13d) and Last Soul Sacrifice (5.14b) that French hardman Axel Franco first climbed in the late 1990s. Sarkany said on her blog she most struggled on the first, bouldery crux: "I had to hold a small pinch with my feet very far under a roof, and go to a pocket quite slippery and hold it without any feet, while keeping balance." Starting her last attempt in hot weather and with anxiety, Sarkany was finally able to calm down and make each move ("screaming on each," she said) to the anchor. "I wasn't afraid to fall, but I enjoyed each last movement because I knew what I was doing," she said. "It was perfect!"

Sarkany, 38, is a former World Cup champion. She first started appearing in the competitions in the early 1990s, and in 1995 began finishing regularly in the top 10. In the late '90s and early 2000s, Sarkany was consistently on the podium, with many gold medals in World Cups, World Championships, and Arco Rockmasters.

Also at Déversé, 18-year-old Polish climber Aleksander Raczyński climbed Abyss, an overhanging 5.14d punctuated with a long tufa, on the right side of the cliff. He describes the route as having two parts: the first section is easier and steeper, followed by a hard sequence to the second section: the tufa. This is not Raczyński's first 5.14d; he's also climbed San Ku Kai at Entraygues, near Briançon, France. Abyss was opened and first climbed by Frenchman Alex Chabot, who, like Sarkany, has an impressive collection of World Cup medals.

Lastly, German climber Daniel Jung redpointed Kick Ass, the 5.14d Enzo Oddo recently completed. Jung first tried the line last year with first ascensionist Cedric lo Piccolo's recommendation. He spent a week attempting the route, but kept getting stuck falling right before and right after one particular move. This year, he finished it the day before the end of his trip.

"It's not easy to try a route for a long time and fall again and again on the same move," Jung said. "[It's] a mentally hard thing, but I was motivated. The moves are awesome, and I had a lot of fun."

Dates of ascents: August 2012