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In climbing I do things that I enjoy and want to do not the ones that are currently in fashion.
Muriel Sarkany
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Muriel Sarkany - Portrait
Mélissa Le Nevé on bouldering, competition, grades and the enjoyment of climbing
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François Nicole on FA Amazonie 9a
 Interviews

And what is your opinion about all those tricks? I am sure you have heard some controversive opinions on this subject. For example, Will Gadd criticized these ideas saying that "spurs are for horses, tools are for your hands"…

Well, I talked about it several times to Will Bubu [Mauro Bole], Harry [Berger] and others. And our conclusion was that it is necessary to draw a very clear distinction between different styles in mixed climbing. For sure you cannot climb with spurs in the rocks (and if it turns out that you can, than a new style should be defined), and at competitions you will be allowed to use very small spurs, that will not let you hang on them, but will enable slight hooking, something like smearing. Anyway, from the beginning of this year hooking your feet on the tool is forbidden at all competitions.

This hanging on the spurs was regarded by some as just ordinary A0…
Exactly. The whole thing started to be serious after Anna Toretty did Mushashi route (M11+ or M12) in the Canadian region Cineplex. Bubu, for example, made such a comment: "Anna did it, and I did it as well. She climbs in the rocks up to 7b, and Mushashi, if you try to estimate its mixed difficulty on the free climbing scale, must be around 8a+ or 8b. This doesn't make any sense". And it must be mentioned that it took Anna around one hour and she was using spurs to rest many times. At that moment we knew for sure that the situation had to be changed. So we figured that there might exist "pure style" or "freestyle", and this would mean doing a route without using any of the mentioned tricks. Such a route would be graded one plus higher. This is to be the guideline for sport style in mixed climbing. I must admit that this kind of climbing is very difficult. Last year, for example, I did Will Gadd's route, The Game M13, using spurs. This was really an effort for me. This year I decided to repeat it, but this time without using any tricks, and, in spite of having previous experience on this route, I succeeded only after a week of hard work. This meant a lot to me, because The Game itself is a very complicated task, and I also experienced how huge the difference between these two ways of climbing is.

Have you tried any other mixed extremes?
Yes, some, but still I haven't done all I wanted to. For example, I did Musashi and Rocky Mountain Horror Show M11+ in "pure style". I managed to do all this during my stay in Canada. The problem with Europe is that there are always too many competitions and so there is not much time left for working on something difficult. I have only onsighted a few M9-M9+ routes . For me another problem with for example Switzerland, is getting a visa and very high prices. However, this year I am planning to try some "pure style" climbing in Kandersteg. I think that No Limits [M12+, 45m, a prolongation of  Vertical Limits M12, located in Ueschinen, Switzerland, the first ascent by R. Jasper - ed.] will be a very difficult task. On this overhanging traverse everybody so far took a rest hanging on the spurs. I suppose that without using this trick it's very hard. I would like to mention Canada one more time, because I had a chance to take part and won both time and difficulty trials in the Festiglass du Quebec competition, where the organizers invited only 16 best competitors. During that stay I also repeated The Game Reloaded M13+ in a new style - "bareback". [The Game Reloaded was opened by Ben Firth in January 2004 and then repeated for the first time in the new style by Will Gadd - ed.]

 

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