Katherine Choong konnte mit der Route „Jungfraumarathon“ im schweizerischen Gimmelwald eine 9a-Route klettern. Katherine Choong ist Mitglied der Schweizer Nationalmannschaft und konnte letztes Jahr mit „Cabane au Canada“ auch schon eine 9a-Route klettern.
The Route „Jungfrau Marathon“ is a graded 9a located in Gimmelwald in the sumptuous setting of the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. After having done my first 9a in Valais in 2018, I absolutely wanted to repeat the performance. It’s a personal challenge, to go a little further out of my comfort zone and try a route that is not in my preferred style and that had not yet been made by a woman.
Gimmelwald is a magical place. Surrounded by snow-covered mountains in a peaceful valley where, apart from a few cow bellows or the screams of a few climbers falling down under the relay, it is an extremely peaceful place. A waterfall flows a few meters above our heads, it’s definitly my favorit place. It’s therefore quite naturally that I chose this place to invest time and energy in a new project.
The route is relatively short (about twenty metres), overhanging (35/45 degrees), with hard movements on bad holds. The crux consists in holding a bad shoulder to go far for a pinch. Since last year, I have been falling into this movement that consists for dwarves like me in a very dynamic movement that I could not succeed in the redpoint attempt. I started last year in October. I quickly found my beta and I was already falling into the dynamic movement of the crux. Very close to clip the chain in november 2018, the snow forced me to stop. The bad weather in the spring did not let me go back until early June 2019. It’s not a good excuses but it was really hard for me wth the extreme heat of summer. In parallel, I started the world cups at the beginning of July, which didn’t go well. I arrived at the end of the summer and finally I had not progressed at all in my project on the cliff, on the contrary, and at the end of the first part of the disastrous competition season. I was stubborn in my method in the crux of Jungfrau Marathon and I was really beginning to have doubts about my ability to clip the chains one day. No remarquable ascent this year outdoor, no very good results in comps, it became very difficult mentally to keep the motivation and confidence in me and it was clearly felt in my attempts in the route. Last week, not even able to reach the crux, a friend finally suggested that I should try the guys‘ method, which involves putting my foot further sideways. 100% sure that I had tried this method the year before and that it didn’t suit me, I still try the beta and I finally could do the movement almost statically, a relief for me ! Then something clic in my mind and I was again motivated and confident. The next session the route was ticked at the 1st try of the day! I really feel a little stupid for persisting with my method, convinced that the guys‘ method was too morpho for me.
It was a memorable day, surrounded by many friends who encouraged me, sharing this moment with them made it even more special. When I clipped the chains, it was first of all an explosion of joy. The joy of having once again exceeded my limits physically but above all mentally. All the effort, the time invested, the sweat, the frustration finally made sense.
In the immediate future and in another field, I am going to Lebanon for a week with Mathilde Becerra. The objective for once is not only centered on me and the performance. I will join the ClimbAid association in order to share some of my experience, coaching children and young adults living in refugee camps. Then I would like to continue the multipitch Tarrago 8b+ in Monsterrat. Then certainly I will start a new hard route project again but nothing has yet been decided.
A video of Jungfrau Marathon will be released soon.“
Foto: (c) Julia Cassou