Pied de biche, ~8B+, the full story

by Björn Pohl - UKC Aug/2014
This news story has been read 4,685 times

Samuel Ometz on Pied de biche, ~8B+, Plamproz, Switzerland, 77 kb
Samuel Ometz on Pied de biche, ~8B+, Plamproz, Switzerland
© Samuel Ometz

27 July. Samuel Ometz (19) made the first ascent of Pied de biche, ~8B+, at Plamproz, close to Verbier, Switzerland. As this was his first ~8B+ FA and he said it was definitely his hardest boulder problem ever I felt I wanted to know more.

Samuel often climbs together with his brother Baptiste (15) and Giuliano Cameroni (17). Quite a strong team indeed as they have all done several 8B+'s and many 8B's. Giuliano even managed to do The story of two Worlds, ~8C, back in February.
Samuel has done classics like Radja, The Dagger, Entlinge, all ~8B+, as well as many 8B's, one of which, Le Rêve de faire, flash.

But back to Pied de biche.

Two years ago, it used to be the big project of a friend called Théo. After a lot of work he was coming really close to sending it, but a really stupid jealous man broke the first very crucial hold with a crowbar ("pied de biche" in French).
Théo was disgusted and stopped trying the boulder. That hold used to be a very nice 50cm long horizontal crimp, and now, you just have enough place to crimp it with three fingers, and you have to start lower with the right hand.

The first move, by far the hardest of the climb, is a huge throw to another perfectly shaped horizontal crimp where everything needs to be perfect to stick it. From there it's about 8A+ with a very uncertain last dynamic move at the end.

The first time I saw the boulder was about two years ago, just after the hold got broken. I found the line amazing, but it looked impossible.
This spring, I came back to climb an 8A on the left, and I tried it just to see how the moves were going. I could do every move in the upper part, but I could not figure out the beginning.
For the next two days, I tried a beta with a small undercling but quickly recognized that it was too hard for me, so I started thinking about doing the standstart to gain some motivation. I needed two more days to climb it, but the first part still seemed too hard. Then I began trying the beginning with a really big move, like Théo did the move when the entire hold was still there, but I had to start lower with the right hand. After a few goes I could just touch the hold, but was really far from holding it. But I was sure that with some practice, this move could be possible, so I kept trying and every day it was feeling a bit more doable. I kept practicing the upper part, hoping that I would not fall too many times in it if I would do the first move.

Then, last Sunday [27 July], after a few relatively bad tries, I was thinking of leaving to try another project, but I decided to try it just one more time, and somehow my left hand stayed, my right hand was in the perfect place, my foot didn't slip and I stuck the move! But then I fell on the last move.
I got really psyched and could do that first move two more times and on the second time I could top it out! The work was worth it!

I was really happy since it's my first experience with a hard project, where I didn't know if a move was possible or not, but kept trying and was rewarded.
As for the grade it's hard to say as it's a really morpho boulder. For my 182cm height it felt like 8B+, but for someone under 170cm it could simply be impossibe and for someone over 190cm it could feel much easier...
The name comes from the crowbar accident, wich made this boulder really well known in the region, with lots of polemics about that strange guy, as it wasn't the first bad thing he did...

Samuel, Giuliano and Baptiste have the nice habit of making videos, so there are quite a lot of them out there. Here is the latest one with a guest appearance by David Firnenburg:

Samuel Ometz is sponsored by: Monkee Clothing

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