Idée fixe 8c by Birte Gutmayer

3 September 2022

Birte Gutmayer has done Idée fixe (8c) in La Saume. "~7c+ to a good rest, followed by a 12-move power endurance crux where precision and beta were key for me. The right mindset and good conditions had to come together to realize this project."

The 32-year-old's grade pyramid is very impressive and in total, she has logged 1 150 routes with comments in the 8a database. In her latest Insta from July, she comes with interesting thoughts.

"To find a well matching climbing partner is as hard as finding a good hold on Frankenjura limestone. Some look good but won’t bring you further. Others are maybe deep enough but don’t fit your fingers. Others may be to fragile and they break once you put force on them. Joy, motivation and awareness are some of the key features my climbing partner should bring to the crag. Positive energy is as essential as the air I breathe but nevertheless the choice of good climbing partners is often underestimated in an individual sport as climbing.

The choice of climbing partners is sometimes based on their maxgrade - the higher the better - but this doesn’t tell you much about the personality. They are probably motivated to climb but also to belay? Is your success of similar importance as their own? Other climbers choose their climbing partners based on fun - the funnier the better. It is getting complicated as soon as the evening beer is preferred to another belay session.

In my opinion good climbing partners are always aware and with confidence. They give me advice and share the perfect beta. While resting they don’t stare at their smartphones but enjoy our common real life with good vibes. They encourage me at the start and cheer at the right moment so I can push to my limits and beyond."

Could you tells us more about your ascent?
In June with „Idée fixe“ in my mind I came to Briancon to check out the route. The line in dark grey rock looked like the perfect endurance test piece where I could take advantage of my strengths. I had six days of projecting in three weeks with really good progress. In this phase I rehearsed all the moves, tried to optimize the beta and only did links between the rests. As a side project I climbed „Saume sweet home“ whose crux is part of Idée fixe. But „Idée fixe“ has a harder crux in the midsection. In the fourth week of my stay in the Briancon area I started to do redpoint attempts. I realized that Idée fixe won‘t be a matter of endurance because I didn't even get really pumped until the crux moves but my fingers and shoulders weren’t strong enough to do the last three hard moves on crimps. In three days I fell nine times at the same move without any improvement and I felt close to my physical abilities. Also the heat wave in mid July didn't increase my chances. So I decided to drive back home for training.

My motivation for training was high. So I was confident when I came back in August. But in my first week back on the route I struggled a lot with single moves due to quite humid conditions. After a weak the conditions changed. The humidity dropped down to 40% and I could do a big linkup from two moves after the first rest to the end of the 8c crux sequence.

I got psyched again to have some promising tries the next day. And finally it happened on my second try then. Compared to the 8c crux in control the 8b-part to the anchor was a bit shaky and risky because I took the gamble to not climb this part in one link since my first stay back in july. The whole process had its ups and downs but probably that’s part of projecting at your limit. And so I am even happier to climb this great power endurance test piece.

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