Ceuse 2015

Ah Céüse! Another year I make the annual pilgrimage to the ‘best crag in the world’, or indeed probably my favourite foreign crag. I love the location, the physical, technical and varied climbing, the multicultural social scenes and did I mention the location!? I could not think of a prettier place the hang out with good friends.

STORM Incoming! 

On this trip I was determined to tick off a few more of the routes Arnaud Petit recommended to me, as before they did not disappoint.

In the past before heading to Céüse I have done my best to improve my stamina and power endurance by doing lots of longish routes down the climbing wall and even doing double routes back-to-back. While this approach seems to work ok for Spanish sport climbing destinations I have found that in the past I have got shutdown on the hard powerful moves that prelude many of the routes at Céüse. Before this trip I made an effort to concentrate on power by getting in a few bouldering sessions. It seemed to pay off, I managed to boulder my way through the starting moves to routes like Petit Tom and La Femme Noire that in the past had shut me down. I believe stamina, power endurance and finger strength to some degree come easier to me than raw power. Maybe I need to do some more bouldering and campus-training. While travelling out to Céüse this year Jon introduced me to a series of podcasts on training: The American Beta Training series of podcasts make for interesting listening, whether or not you agree with everything mentioned it still gets you psyched for training and general self questioning and improvement which must surly be a good thing?

I find one of the hardest things about Ceuse is choosing which routes to do battle with, there are just so many quality lines! After a couple of enjoyable days on-sighting I realised I crave the thrills of red-pointing. The feeling of having a route go from being super hard and almost impossible to climbing it smooth and efficiently is hard to beat. However I tried by best to not get too sucked into any all-consuming redpoints, instead allowing myself to spend the first half of each climbing day onsighting lots of other fun routes before getting stuck into a project. Ceuse has some amazing routes in the mid 7’s, even though like most of the routes on the crag many of these are tough for the grade. Harriet but in an awesome effort climbing the tough and runout Blocage Violent 7b+

Harriet on Blocage Violent 7b+ 

Harriet clocking up some air miles off Blocage Violent!
Out of the 30 routes I did this trip I think the highlights for me where:

La Femme Noire 7c+  - Onsight - Powerful and polished start followed by steep climbing on good holds then a final thin run-out groove finale, very memorable.

Dietetic Line 7b & Opéra Vertical 7b - Onsight - located next two each other these two routes offer a couple of fantastic long and veried pitches. My favourite routes on the crag at the grade.

Luke on Dietetic Line 7b

Harriet latching the crux move on Opéra Vertical 7b 
Le Poinçonneur des Lilas 8a+ - 3rd Redpoint - Varied climbing: flowy pocket pulling building to a tricky crux sequence involving a sneaky heel-hook and a crucifix move followed by a pumpy roof.

Le Poinçonneur des Lilas 8a+, thanks Luke Brooks for photo
Petit Tom 8a - 3rd Redpoint - Classic Berlin wall sustained pocket pulling with a boulder at the bottom. Very satisfying to get this done having not even been able to get through the lower section on previous visits. Had to fight hard, success came as daylight was fading into a gorgeous sunset on the last day of our trip. Perfect end to the trip :-)

Redpoint crux of Petit Tom 8a, Thanks Benjamin Rueck for photos
Steep pocket pulling on Petit Tom
Petit Tom
Last evening sunset
Jon on Berlin 7c+

I'm currently sitting my my van in Yorkshire after an evenings climbing at Kilnsey...wow very impressive crag! Céüse fitness just about got my up Biological Need 7c onsight which I was very happy about, especially since it had a wild dyno to a spike! Now to get involved with The Diamond in North Wales now the bird ban has been lifted....


Jon Leighton has posted a well written blog post about our trip and some in depth writing about the trials and tribulations of red-pointing at your limit. Shortly after reading his post about always questioning your redpoint sequence I found myself on the sharp end of Melancholie a short crimpy route at my local crag Lower Pen Trwyn. This was a route I thought I had totally worked out and just needed to put in the required effort and training to get up it. However totally re-thinking my sequence on the crux with help from an observant friend allowed for a quick recovery shake to breakup the brutally sustained crimping made all the difference. Next redpoint saw me clipping the chains on my first 8b! Big thanks to Emma Twyford for getting me psyched to try this route and everyone who gave me a belay.

Emma on crux of Melancholie...I did't do it this way!

Melancholie 8b - front cover tick :-)