Earlier this winter French mixed and ice climbing master Jeff Mercier made an incredible link up of three hard classic routes at Kandersteg - in a single day.
The routes were the bold and rarely repeated The Holy Grail (M12 WI5), the desperate Mach 3 (M9/WI6) and the ultra classic and hard Flying Circus (M10/WI6), in the on the Breitwangflue Wall in Kandersteg, Switzerland.
"Like all geeks, I lose too much time in front of my computer... But sometimes what I see on that machine actually influences my life! This happened to me two years ago when I watched the video of Robert Jasper on his now famous route Monty Python and The Holy Grail."
Mercier went on to explain:
"From the first time I saw it I was hypnotised. At 44 years old, I can honestly say that I am obsessed with mixed climbing. My rat is never satisfied, and my wife despairs because I'm always looking for a new challenge. And this route immediately became my main goal."
After an initial failed attempt on The Holy Grail, Mercier realised that he would have to train and return, quoting the same reason that first ascensionist Robert Jasper also didn't climb the route straight away:
“My mind was not capable of sending it, the brittle rock scared me.”
Jeff told UKC:
"To wait for good conditions and to improve my flow on the rock, I went climbing on a small local crag, around 100 metres in height, located at les Grands Montets, close to Chamonix. First developed by some UK climbers a few years ago (namely Nick Bullock and friends), they missed the steepest part of it, that I've called the "Blade Stadium". I was very lucky to find five new routes there, and the last one "Sanction Stylée" (D9) is an overhanging and thin crack with a lot of tricky moves - good training for Kandersteg.
And then mid February came, conditions were perfect, except the 1st pitch of Mach3 so we climbed the 1st pitch of "Tears of...". And in 9 hours on the 18 of February 2015, with my friend Julien Irilli, we achieved this triple link-up mission."
RELATED VIDEO: Robert Jasper on Ritter der Kokosnuß (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
Following Jeff's development of the Rive Gauche crag in Argentierre, Chamonix, in preparation for his Kandersteg link-up, UKC teamed Jeff up with one of the original developers of the crag - Nick Bullock for an action packed day of rivalry, ego and good old fashioned sand bagging. Keep your eyes on UKC for a major feature in the next couple of months.