Alexander Chabot

INTERVIEWS

Thursday, 16 March

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Alex Chabot Pic: Kazu Chiba
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Bouldering in Argentina Pic: C Larcher
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Pic Yann Corby

Alexander Chabot is the best competition climber ever, with 21 World Cups in his harness. Alex has won the French championship six times in a row but last year his federation (FFME) did not allow him to compete due to a sponsor argument, twice! On the 24th of March at 18.30, Alex has to appear to a hearing with the disciplinary board of FFME in Paris. Cedric Larcher travelled to Argentina with Alex and lifestyle and FFME were discussed.

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Bouldering in Fontainebleau Pic: Kazu Chiba
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Maybe no World Cups in 2006!?

Lately, Alex has been more active outdoors with many challenging onsights like Directa Chalenger and L-mens, 8b+ and Kinematix 9a. In total Alex has done 18 routes 8c and harder included the flash of Balzolita, 8c. Alex would be Top-5 in the 8a All time high ranking.

8a supports the ideological mindset of Alex and we think that he is both brave and open-minded in his opinions. It is very important for the climbing community that money, politics and guardianship don't ruin the climbing lifestyle even for those who want to be #1 at the competition scene.

What gave you the idea to go to Argentina?

Sharing the passion with a different culture. During many months I wanted to make a trip to a new place, not one of the « trendy » places, to find more authentic and fresh climbing.
What did you find there from a sport, human and personal perspective?
I specially remember the large amount of stones spread in the large beautiful landscape. The quality of the cliffs not manipulated thanks to the local climbers' motivation to keep it natural. The welcoming local climbers that gladly shared their traditions of Argentine bloody flappers, red wine, chocolate?)
Tell us about Reaccion Indirecta.
It was the first hard route I tried. An explosive route with natural holes, with around 15 moves. The route was very demanding and these holds limited the number of attempts I could do ? because of the Argentine bloody flappers.
You did an 8b+/8c onsight, was that a project or did it just happen? Tell us about the route.
It was on feeling. I had been observing the line on the impressive prow and the next day I started to climb the beginning of the route which is 7b+, to try the end later. But I felt really light and that feeling gave me all the energy needed for the rest of the route which is resistant. I didn't go to Argentina to perform, but while climbing, it all felt good and it just happened.  I had the feeling of being small in front of this giant prow. The route which is 35 meters and 100% natural, demands a lot of effort, strength and precise placements. A real trip!
To travel, is that a new direction in your career ?
Travelling is my passion. I always had the taste for travelling. This year I finally realize my dreams. To travel gives me a sense of freedom and brings unforgettable memories parallel to the climbing.
Will we see Alex Chabot again in the World Cup?
I count on participating in the first competition in the end of April in Puurs, Belgium. I see the competition as an engine, a way to express yourself amongst others. However, my participation is subordinate to the whims of the federation. I don't want to take part in a masquerade (wearing logos) in order to satisfy the powerful federation.
Where are you standing, regarding your problems with the French Federation?
For many months the French Federation wittingly used all their powers, I suffer from harassments. During my trip in Argentina I  received recommended letters where they convoked me to an advisory board, in regards of new doubtful rules.
I compete because I love the sport, but it seems like the FFME has lost its original values. Now a days when climbers talk about the French Federation, most of them don't evoke a passion for the climbing but for the politics, conflicts, the incompetence.
Which are your coming projects and travels ?
A travel to Andalusia, south of Spain. A travel to England to try the old school climbing. Take all opportunities to travel. Climb the hard routes I recently have bolted. Participate in numerous events (competitions, gatherings, handicap climbing). Do some climbing in the mountains. Meet and share with climbers having new visions
What do you dream of  (routes, climbers, what else)?
Climbing - my way of living. I love to discover new visions, be exited, share the excitement and the unforgettable moments. To push my own limits. The mountains and the commitment particularly attracts me: to place my own protection on an unclimbed face, to deal with the long effort and succeed to finish. Explore your limits, to be in an environment without pollution, in a place where few people can go. We all should make sure to live our dreams.
Where is climbing in 10 years (difficulty level, competition, gym/outdoor)?
I think that we'll see climbing becoming more specialized. We will see more climbers being very strong in one area, but less climbers who do varied climbing. Maybe we'll see more people practicing climbing, but a stagnant level of passionate climbers.
Alex Chabot in 10 years ?
I will live around the cliffs and the mountains on my crash pad with a stick with a brush to clean the holds and surfing internet ;)

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