EYES BIGGER THAN THE CAVE | A fantastic new route by Sébastien Bouin
On April 3rd, 2018, French climber Sébastien Bouin completed the first ascent of the the french Chilam Balam "Les yeux plus gros que l'antre" (Eyes bigger than the cave) grade 9a+/9b. He claims that this route is one of the best in France, with its 70 meters in length and amazing boulders problems on the top.
Let’s hear the story from Seb own words to discover more about the new route.
Name and story of the route:
Part of 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 that allows the full climb of the cave. That's the reason why I called this route "Les yeux plus gros que l'antre" (Eyes bigger than the cave).
The name has a specific meaning for myself. In fact, I always want to perform bigger and harder, even if it could not be my level. I want to find some impressive and massive route. "Eyes bigger than the belly" was ideal for me, when I heard this name I immediately thought that this route was made for me... And then I saw the cave and the route, and instantly I knew it was for me.
Description of the route:
The first roof part is around 20 to 25 meters. After this, you reach a good rest and can change your rope. Then you have a bouldery crux on one finger pocket to reach an another rest. Until here it could be, I rated it around 8c route.
Then, there is one consistent 9a to make, starting with big tuffas, and after there is a mixed boulder part with different grades, 7a + 7a + 7c+/8a + 7b.
All these boulders problems to solve are amazing, especially the red point of the route in the 7c+/8a boulder. There are incredibles moves to finish on a tuffa dyno. I fell 4 times on this dyno. Luckily, I didn't fell in the last crimpy boulder.
If I compare this route with other I did or try, 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 spent 2 weeks to do Chilam Balam, and 4 month to do this one.
I don't have many experience in the 9b grade. So I hope any strong guy will try this route and say if it's more 9b or 9a+ ;)
With this grade "Les yeux plus gros que l'antre" could become the 4th harder route in France, after CRS 9b (I bolted it), "Eagle 4" 9b, and Akira 9b.
Congrats to Seb for this incredible achievement, thanks for sharing it with us!