Mélissa Le Nevé - the art of enjoying climbing
Interview by Monika M³odecka
Mélissa Le Nevé in Rocklands (photo: archive Mélissa Le Nevé)
Already as a child you dreamed of sport climbing but unfortunately you lived in the flat region of Bordeaux. At the age of 15 you finally found a small climbing wall and it was when your dreams started coming true. Can you describe where your dreams came from? Why sport climbing and not something else?
When I was a child I used to spend a lot of time close to nature climbing every single tree I could and… I don’t know, I think I was just attracted to that kind of sport although at that time I didn’t know that actually it was a sport. And when I finally started climbing it was just evident, I knew immediately that this is it, it’s my way but it didn’t cross my mind that I could be a professional climber and never imagined things that are happening in my life right now.
You’re only 23 and already have some significant achievements on your account like being 2nd or 3rd in WC editions for a number of times. You compete mostly in bouldering, only from time to time deciding to take part in a lead event. Why do you focus mostly on bouldering?
Because it is more fun for me. Bouldering is like a game – while competing I play with my body, with extreme movements and with my mind. I don’t find lead equally interesting. But from time to time it’s nice to compete also with my friends who are lead experts and to spend some time together, that’s why I sometimes take part in lead events.
Melissa with Alex Puccio and Katharina Saurwein during this year's
Arco Rock Master (photo: Piotr Dro¿d¿)
In the IFSC calendar of WC editions, many of the locations are fixed and one may say that some of them are like a tradition, for example from many years Chamonix is the organizer of the first edition of the lead event. The same applies to bouldering events. Do you like any of these locations/cities in particular? Do you have your favorite WC edition?
I guess it’s natural that you particularly like the cities in which you did well :-) I’m a bit sentimental of Eindhoven because that’s the place where I won my first podium position. Generally, every competition in Eindhoven that I did I finished ranked 3rd, it’s funny. But I also like Innsbruck a lot because it’s kind of my second home and I feel well there. I like Sheffield as well, I had a really great time there. The fact that I came 2nd is additional, the most important factor is where you had the most fun. I’m not very fond of China for example.
Mélissa Le Nevé during one of the World Cup editions
(photo: archive Mélissa Le Nevé)
I saw you last year climbing in Céüse on a pretty technical route and I was impressed with your ease of movement which is quite untypical of female boulderers used more to athletic dynamic moves. On your list there is an 8b+ route, Renegoide in Siurana and in one interview you said that you want to climb more multi pitch routes. Do you think it is important to be a universal climber or is it better to focus only on one branch of climbing?
I don’t focus on only one thing because for me climbing means climbing on everything you can. I love climbing in its every dimension; I love bouldering, I love sport climbing, I love multi-pitch climbing. Generally, I like discovering new things, although I do get scared sometimes :-) I like being confronted with different things and this way I improve myself. This route in Siurana was a real challenge for me.
Melissa going for silver medal of this year's
Arco Rock Master bouldering event (photo: Piotr Dro¿d¿)
You said that "the freedom you feel on multi pitch routes is so intense”. Are you thinking of any specific multi-pitch goals for the nearest future?
Yes, there are some routes I’d would like to try but I think that before I’m going to face something really hard I would have to visit several areas to do more multi-pitch climbing, just to get used to it. But I would definitely like to try Des Kaisers Neue Kleider in Wilder Kaiser. I’ve heard that this is a really hard route and I don’t want to go there without any preparation. But I’d like to improve my skills in this branch of climbing for sure. I’m under the influence of the spirit of multi-pitch climbing, while climbing big walls you can really feel free and somehow relieved.