By analyzing your climbing career one can easily spot that it somehow divides itself into two distinctive stages, as far as biggest achievements are concerned: competition climbing and rock climbing. Are there any specific reasons for that?
It’s true that if I’m motivated to do something, I want to do it very well ;-) The whole organization of climbing trips wasn’t easy and as you’ve said before the climbing spots in Belgium are not the best ones. It was difficult for me to combine rock climbing and training. And I was in a relationship with a non-climbing person so while having a rest from competing and training, I did not climb at all.
Let’s focus more on the rocks. Apart from many 8a and 8a+ OS, on your list there are already 6 routes graded 8c. The first one was Drop City in Geyikbayiri, then came the Gorge du Loup period and Last Soul Sacrifice, Quoussai les maux de la fin and Hot Chilli X, and finally the most recent ones, Rollito Sharma Extension and Ingravids Eskerps of Santa Linya. For which of them do you have some special feelings and why?
For me Drop City was very special because it was my first 8c. Before that I didn’t try any route from this level and the line itself was very beautiful. In summer 2011 I decided to stay a bit longer in Gorges du Loup near Nice. I tried few projects simultaneously and every time I tried some route I wanted to do it well ;-). The atmosphere there was really nice! When it comes to Rollito Sharma, it’s a whole different story ;-). I tried this route because it was the most obvious line in Gran Cova in Santa Linya. I did the first 8b+ pitch really quickly and afterwards I checked out the higher 8c part and I felt really motivated. I realized that I was recovering very quickly after the first anchor and my main problem was just the very last move. I had to catch a very small crimp while standing basically on nothing instead of making a massive move to a good hold like everyone else. It’s a very hard move to perform at the end of the route. I was able to make it once every 3 or 4 attempts ;-) In the winter of 2011, somebody broke a hold at the beginning of the 8b+ pitch. This move was already hard for shorter climbers and that way it became a whole new boulder problem for me. Mentally, it was extremely hard because when I was finally able to do the last move I got blocked again but that time 15 meters lower ;-). After finding the solution at the beginning of 2012, I could finally start making some real attempts. During the last try on the last day of that trip, while climbing almost by night, I fell with the last hold in my left hand… And I had to go back home the following morning… At home, I played the scene in my head over and over again and I clearly was just obsessed with this route. So the following weekend I decided to come back to Santa Linya and I did Rollito during the first day of climbing!!! ;-)
The two 8c routes you sent in Santa Linya in February and March this year are not the favorite ones of female climbers visiting the spot, because they are rather short and therefore quite athletic. The best proof for that may be the fact that your ascent of Ingravids Eskerps is only the second female one (the first was done by Angela Eiter) and in the case of Rollito you are the first female conqueror of this route. Why did you choose them as your projects?
In the case of Rollito, it’s really the first line you see when you arrive in Santa Linya, It’s in the middle part of the cave. On my first climbing day in the cave I saw Edu Marin climbing on this route and it seemed really nice ;-) It was enough to motivate me to try it ;-). Ingravids Eskerps is just the next route to the right and I tried it once at the end of the day after my runs on Rollito Sharma Extension. it suited me well and apart from that I wanted to try it because it’s short, which made the whole effort completely different from the one I had to make on Rollito ;-)