Seb Bouin flashes first ascent of Baise moi (F8c+/9a)
- Thursday 10th August 2023
On August 4th, Seb Bouin flashed the first ascent of Baise moi, a project in the Verdon Gorge.
Wasting no time since returning from his trip to Flatanger, Norway where he tried Project Big as well as repeating Move Hard (F9b), Seb Bouin has made very short work of an unclimbed project at Saint Auban, in the Verdon Gorge. Posting the news on-line on his Instagram page Seb wrote, "My hardest flash ever!”
The project, known as Baise moi by the locals who first bolted it and have been trying it, had been given a tentative grade of F8c+/9a. However, Seb feels is closer to F8c+. Irrespective of the grade however, it’s the hardest flash of Seb’s career to date. Although he’s a prolific redpointer, Seb isn’t well-known for on-sighting or flashing hard routes. Previously, Seb’s hardest flash was Les rois du pétrole (F8b+), in Pic Saint Loup and this was 8 years or so ago.
Seb explains how his attempt on the project came about. “Coming back from Norway, the plan was to spend a month in France between Verdon Gorges and the Alps, climbing some new routes and bolting future projects. The first stop was a relatively new crag Saint Auban, around the Verdon Gorges which has been bolted by local climbers François Chollet and Adrien Boulon.
“The first day I was climbing with François Chollet (AKA "Wawa"). I warmed up on Le vent l'emportera F8a, which I on-sighted. Then I managed to climb Trésor F8b flash, to finish the warm-up. François told me he needed 45 minutes to rest. So, I was psyched to check out a project called Baise moi, thought to be 8c+/9a. He told me I should wait for Adrien Boulon (the bolter of the route, who is also trying it) to get the beta and give it a flash attempt. But I didn’t think this would be possible. The route is impressive and imposing (45 meters through a big overhang). I was tired from our Norway travel. I said I will just check the moves and hope for a good second go. Then Adrien arrived when I was ready to go. He was psyched for a flash. I thought “Why not?”, even if I was doubtful, I had nothing to lose.”
Seb explains how his flash go unfolded, “Then, crux by crux, I understood that the route could be possible, it was 100% my climbing style. Big moves, bad rests between the cruxes. A pure endurance route. I didn’t make any mistakes and I took the risks at the right moments. It's rare to have this kind of opportunity. I am not used to climb on-sight or flash in this level. I have not so many routes left in this level to practice. “
Paying tribute to Adrien’s beta Seb commented, “I am not so good at taking risks in my climbing, so I am quite happy about the result of this climb. It's quite hard to combine everything for an on-sight or a flash : the good betas, the shape, the right conditions. Adrien's flash beta was perfect. I would need at least 3 goes to find all his betas from scratch.”
Commenting about the possible grade Seb said, “Regarding the grade: Adrien and another local, Franck Andolfatto, are currently trying the route. They are thinking it might be F8c+/9a. As I did the First Ascent, I suppose I have to give a grade. It's hard to choose, as I did it first go. I would like to give a solid grade without slash for this one, so I decided to get back on the route to try again few moves and have a better idea. I think this route should be F8c+ (5.14c). It would be a dream to flash a F9a, but I think Baise moi is a bit easier. I hope to have other opportunities to flash F9a's in my career. Thanks to Adrien Boulon for bolting the route and giving the perfect betas and thanks to François Chollet for the long, long belay.”