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Les yeux plus gros que l'antre, 9a+/b, first ascent by Seb Bouin

Seb Bouin has made the first ascent of "the French Chilam Balam", Les yeux plus gros que l'antre, 9a+/b, at Russan in southern France. The route is around 70 meters long, and features 60 meters of roof climbing.

3 April 2018, I did the First Ascent of the French Chilam Balam Les yeux plus gros que l'antre (Eyes bigger than the cave) 9a+/9b - 5.15a/b. This route is one of the best in France for me, it is 70 meters long and there are amazing boulder problems near the top.

Name and story of the route:

This route was bolted more than 20 years ago.

There are two parts. The second part was the original one, and it was called "Les yeux plus gros que le ventre" (Eyes bigger than the belly). The first part is a start extension which permits climbing through the whole cave. That's why I called this route "Les yeux plus gros que l'antre" (Eyes bigger than the cave).

The name was for me! In fact, I always want to do bigger and harder even if it's not my level. I wanted to find some impressive and massive route. "Eyes bigger than the belly" was for me ;)

When I heard about this name I thought this route was for me ;) And when I saw the cave and the route I knew it was for me ;)

Seb Bouin on Les yeux plus gros que l'antre, 9a+/b, Russan, France  © Raphaël Fourau
Seb Bouin on Les yeux plus gros que l'antre, 9a+/b, Russan, France
© Raphaël Fourau

Description of the route :

The first roof part is around 20-25 meters and weighs in around 8b+. After you reach a good rest and you can change your rope.

Then you have a bouldery crux featuring a one finger pocket to reach another rest. Until here it could be an 8c route.

Then there is one resistant 9a to do. This 9a part is starting with big tufas, and after this a series of bouldery sections: 7A, 7A, 7C+/8A and finally a 7B.

All these boulder problems are amazing. Especially the redpoint crux of the route in the 7C+/8A boulder. There are incredible moves to finish on a tufa dyno . I fell four times on this dyno.

Luckily, I didn't fall in the last crimpy boulder.


If I compare this route with others I've done or tried, I can propose 9a+/b. I think it's harder than Chilam Balam (9a+/9b) and Pachamama (hard 9a+, proposed 9a+/9b by Patxi Usobiaga).

I don't have much experience in the 9b grade. So I hope some strong guys will try this route and say if it's more 9b or 9a+ ;)

With this grade "Les yeux plu gros que l'antre" become the 4th harder route in France after CRS, 9b (I bolted it), Eagle 4, 9b, and Akira, 9b?

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Seb is one of the most accomplished sport climbers in the world with many hard routes including quite a few in the 9a-9b range under his belt including Mamichula, Chilam Balam and his own Les...

Seb's Athlete Page 24 posts 3 videos

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