On November 7, Julia Chanourdie, from France, ticked Eagle-4 (9b/5.15b), making her the third woman to put down the grade, after Angy Eiter in 2017 with La Planta de Shiva and Laura Rogora in July, 2020 with Ali Hulk Sit Extension Total.
Eagle-4, in St. Leger du Ventoux in France, was established by Elie Morieux and first ascended by Adam Ondra in 2018. Hugo Parmentier nabbed the first repeat, and Chanourdie the third.
Chanourdie, 24, posted on Instagram: “It all happened so fast! I felt it coming though, because I’d put in a good run the day before. I was really motivated, even though I couldn’t quite envision sending my first 9b. Late in the evening, I had to psych myself up before my fourth run. But after the first move, everything started to flow. The temperature had dropped, I felt cooler than my earlier runs. I just climbed, move after move and hung onto each of them for the send!
“The past days, the national restrictions had me nervous. I was worried professional athlete access to the crags would be cut off. It would have postponed the send. That thought was in the back of my mind and it helped propel me forward on the route.”
Growing up in the Haute-Savoie region of eastern France, Chanourdie learned to climb at a young age. She practiced in a family-owned climbing hall in Annecy and her father, Erick Chanourdie, was her coach. Chanourdie has been competing on the international circuit since 2010 and has made finals in 15 World Cups or Championshps. She qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in November, 2019 in the Toulouse Combined event.
In an interview with Rock and Ice, Chanourdie described the balance between training for outdoor projects versus competitions: “I always needed rock climbing outside in my competition preparation. It’s a kind of physical and psychological balance for me. And I know that working hard routes is good training, because the limits are always being pushed further, and thanks to that I can have different objectives.
“Last year was a bit complicated to go outside with all my Olympic preparation. This is why, after my qualification, I wanted to go back outside and enjoy real rock. Regarding Supercrackinette, I was at the crag only on weekends—during the week I trained for the other comp disciplines. It was a great schedule for me.”
Chanourdie added that, for the upcoming Olympics, her eyes are set on gold. “I definitely have the capabilities for it, and the combined format makes anything possible,” she said.
More to come.
Feature image by Jan Virt/IFSC