In the fourth episode of his Vintage Rock Tour, Seb Bouin takes on Fred Rouhling's trio of unrepeated 9s at Les Eaux Claires: Akira, Hugh and De L' Autre Côté du Ciel.
Really interesting to see how differently he climbed Akira to Fred i.e. using his feet, and how similarly he climbed L'Autre Cote du Ciel - It would seem like L'Autre Cote is '9a obligatoire' whereas Akira is better described as 9b (9a obligatoire) and will no doubt settle at a grade in the next couple of years now the 'myth' barrier has been broken and people try it. Definitely puts Fred in the top of the tree in the world at the time - who else was operating at 8c+ in 93-95 (or before)? Moon, Moffat, Gullich, Huber, Andrada?
Wow, I found the rhapsodising of the chap on the video (magazine editor?) absolutely repellant. The way he kept gushing about how the routes were so beautifully chipped and what a visionary the FA was.
Ballocks. People who climb a new route as it is, without knowing if it is possible are an inspiration. People who just get the chisel out to bring it to their level, not so much.
Fred Nicole (Bain de Sang) is the only other that springs to mind.
You need to take it in the context of the age and location. And leave your ego aside.
as for the chap, they were the guys who climbed these lines. With the exception of Hugh, 2nd and 3rd ascents.
From your comment it seems you have much to learn about the history and development of rock climbing through the ages...........
> From your comment it seems you have much to learn about the history and development of rock climbing through the ages...........
Tell me more...
Who needs a clipstick ? A neat bit of lasooing there !
> You may want to read this article that provides context:
Thanks Joost. Read that article a few months back but am still none the wiser. Had a reskimm and saw something saying that he didn't actually chip holds on one of the routes. ( Could have been >1)
Is that the key point that you and others are making, or is it just that everyone was doing it back then?
The latter. Well, not all were chipping (manufacturing may be a better word, as often it also involved gluing bits of rock in place, filling holes, etc.) back in the day. It typically only occurred at the higher grades and especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Quite a few routes were "manufactured" all over the world by a lot of top climbers (not only Fred Rouhling!): France (Buoux, Gorges de Loup, Fontainebleau, Saussois to name a few areas), quite a couple of areas in the US, Northern Italy, etc.
This helped the sport to progress when it comes to climbing difficulty. However, people realized over time that it was the wrong thing to do. Routes that first looked impossible turned out to be possible later without the chipped holds due to climbers getting better. At a certain stage, people (mostly) accepted that the practices were wrong and that nature is to determine (the difficulty of) the route.
It is easy to conclude in hindsight that the routes should not have been chipped. But in light of how people were thinking about it in the day... This is also what Fred Rouhling seems to conclude: in today's world he probably would never have put up Hugh and De L' Autre Côté du Ciel (based on various reports on the topic, it appears that Akira is natural) as ethics have moved on including his own.
OK. In that case I stand by my original comment that I think the journo is completely misguided.
Well, I disagree. You are obviously entitled to your own opinion.
In my view, without context (age and location, as others said before) nothing makes sense. Another example: once upon a time people climbed sports/traditional routes by pulling on gear where today the same routes are freed. If you would be pulling on gear in today's age on these routes, it would be frowned upon. Who are we to judge however that they got it all wrong in the past having more knowledge, better gear, greater climbing ability, etc. The first ascensionists showed a route and in time the style (ethics!) the route is climbed in improved (the latter is an opinion rather than anything else). It is called progress and without a starting point, the sport would not be where it is today.
Ultimately, these manufactured routes are there and perhaps it is best to simply ignore how they came together and judge them on the quality of the moves. From that perspective, clearly the routes in the video show something else from what was done before giving a new direction for the sport.