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Benoît Dubois competing in the 2006 Challenge Millet.Photo courtesy of www.challengemillet.com.
Benoît Dubois won the second Challenge Millet in Québec, leading 26 overhanging mixed climbs in three hours on the scruffy cliffs of Saint-Alban. Audrey Gariepy was the top woman, climbing 24 routes, good enough for second overall in the comp. Gariepy also finished second overall at the Ouray Ice Festival in Colorado in mid-January.
The Challenge Millet has adopted the comp formula used by the popular Festiglace (also in Québec), in which climbers pair up and take turns leading as many routes as they can in two 1.5-hour blocks. Routes are assigned point values based on their difficulty; if a climber falls or hangs once during a lead, she can choose to complete the route for half points or start over for full value. Dubois, the winner, completed four M9 routes among his total of 26 climbs, according to Vermonter Will Mayo, who finished sixth in this year’s comp. In 2006, Mayo won the inaugural Challenge Millet, which had a traditional single-route final round.
Mayo said the new Challenge lived up to its name. “It was –24°C [–11°F] the night before, and the pump I developed after only a few overhanging routes was severe,” Mayo said. “Did I mention that even the M6s overhang at Saint-Alban?”
Some of the Challenge Millet competitors were warming up for the 10th annual Festiglace (February 16-18) at Pont-Rouge, Québec. The pro comp at Festiglace is expected to draw climbers from at least half a dozen countries, including Ukraine’s Evgeny Kryvosheytsev, winner at the Ouray festival.
Will Mayo on his way to winning last year’s Challenge Millet. This year: No heel spurs allowed.Photo courtesy of www.challengemillet.com.
Date of Event: January 27, 2007