Nina Caprez sends her first 8c+

Pure, athletic, powerful and just beautiful: Swiss Arc´teryx climber Nina Caprez sends 'Hélix au pays des merveilles'. Her first 8c+ / 5.14c and the route´s first female redpoint.

Nina Caprez (c) Raphael Fourau "I fell in love", Nina raves about the line. "This huge limestone cave was one of the best things I've ever seen in my life. The quality of rock is unbelievable: beside pure tufas you have perfect crimps, pockets…"From the moment she abseiled down into the cave 'Pic de Saint Loup' north of Montpellier, France, she wanted to climb on the huge fat tufa in the middle of the wall. "And I was a lucky girl – there was a route that was topping out on this huge tufa – the Hélix.

The only two climbers who were able to clip the chain of Hélix before were Gérome Pouvreau and Cédric Lachat. As the beta of the two guys was not her style, she was lucky to receive some good beta from the route setter, Frédéric. Nina Caprez in Hélix au pays des merveilles (8c+) (c) Raphael Fourau "The climb was pure, athletic, powerful and just beautiful! " It starts with a big boulder problem in the beginning, then some easier climb with two good rests and goes on consistent before you reach the final tufa, where everything plays in your forearms," Nina explains the route.

Nina needed three days to realize the movements of the boulder problem at the start. "For the rest I quickly found some good beta to make the route possible for me. I escaped the big and powerful moves of the guys and I crimped some food holds instead!"

She needed about 20 tries to pass the boulder problem at the forth draw and she almost made it to the top – but slipped and fell. She was super optimistic but had to wait for two weeks to go back as the weather changed. In the first days of June Nina returned and got on her project.Again, some more tries at the boulder problem and she made it to the top and clipped the chain. "Once I passed this start I was really ready to go to the top, without fear, with no hesitation, full of joy!"

Hélix is the hardest and the most powerful sport climbing route Nina has done. "I never felt so psyched to climb in a route like in Hélix. My mind was completely open, free and I was full of good energy. I don't know how long this will continue, but I have the impression that I'm surfing on a wave…next stop Arc´teryx Alpine Academy in Chamonix and then my multi-pitch project in Orbayu! Life is great!" Nina.

QuelleKatharina Habermann, Fotos: Raphael Fourau