Jibé Jourjon (42) peaking with 8c+ and 8c in a week

Wednesday, 21 April

Jean-Baptiste Jourjon, who did his first 8c in 2002, has had his best week ever by doing Purée de ratatouille 8c and, in just three sessions, Tonnerre d'orage 8c+ in Col du marocaz.

"I belayed Mathieu Bouyoud when he tried and sent the route with 8c+ proposal in 2012. I just put my fingers once in it and I could not imagine having enough power endurance. I thought it would not be downgraded because he did quite a few tries which I'm not used to 😂. A few weeks ago I sent an 8b+ next to it and there were draws in the 8c+ so I thought "why not"? All the moves were ok quite quickly that time but I had no idea how it would be linking the 15 to 20 intense moves. I made few adjustments during the first tries and I quickly had optimized beta.

Covid restrictions forced us to climb nearby but fortunately, we have crags close to home. It's a chance but also a personal choice otherwise living in a big city would not allow climbing regularly outdoor with a full-time job and family who is my best sponsor. Maybe restrictions were positive in my case because I work a lot from home and I stopped nibbling as I always did at the office. 2-3kg less and regular route climbing made me progressing in that power endurance style. I hope I'll be able to confirm other such hard routes even if I still fail to climb a few 8b's around...

About the grade: Mathieu didn't use a knee pad. I don't know about other repetitors. For me, it helped resting before the intense section. On the other hand, some other repetitors didn't use a knee pad but were going far left on the undercling of the route to the left to get some rest, which is allowed but not so beautiful as you need to go back then to the right. The knee pad also helped improving friction on crux.

Grading is a never-ending story, the route I did the week before suggested 8c by Mathieu and I repeated a few hours later felt as hard as Tonnerre d'orage to me. So hard and beautiful that it almost feels like a better achievement than the 8c+. Now I probably need to send 9a at 50+ to make again a news on 8a.nu."

Could you please say something about peaking at age 42 and how come you had a 14 years break of doing 8c's?
Good shape periods are so strange and hard to manage for me. I remember being strong in my 30's: I had stopped climbing 4 to 6 months to focus on triathlon. Back to climbing, I had peak power like 3-4 months after, certainly thanks to the absence of climbing injuries (fingers...). Since then I have some peaks but shorter and shorter. It generally ended with small injuries because of bad rest management. I often focus on bouldering on cold days and switch to lead around summertime.

Spring 2019 in my 40's I had a peak shape in bouldering with problems like Vecchio Leone 8B in Brione. Generally, on routes, I have a lack of power endurance but that time I felt not so bad in 8a-8b's after only 2-3 weeks. Usually, in such a case I was thinking, "let's get more training before trying harder, I feel good but no chance for a long and steep route with so little pump training". This time I stopped thinking and jumped to a 14 years project and succeeded in a few sessions. It was a good option because right after I felt weaker due to a new injury leading to less intense training and regression (finger, shoulder, biceps... I don't remember).

Part of my success now is probably more long term focus on lead and capability to rest on less and less good holds because I don't feel physically stronger for the hardest moves. I also discovered the hang board routine from Emil Abrahamsson and was really impressed by the results he obtained on himself. I don't feel so much progress on hangs like him but I agree it might preserve joints and tendons. Need to find a similar routine for bigger muscle groups that also feel painful...

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