Jules Henry (8) does Sacrilège 8a+

Tuesday, 11 May

Jules Henry started climbing 20 months ago. After six months of climbing, at age seven, he did his first 7B+ boulder. Due to the pandemic, most of his training and climbing since then has occurred on their home wall. In March, this 124-cm-tall kid did his first 8a and last month, he did his first 8a+, Sacrilège in Saussois. This means that Jules is the youngest ever to have done an 8a+. On his latestInsta - Jules9a, he says he tried an 8b and did all the moves.

His father says he climbs five days a week out of which three outdoors. It is Jules who picks the routes and currently he is working on another 8a. During the lockdown, they were mainly climbing at their home wall where his father creates challenges for him.

What is your climbing background in the family?
I have two kids but we are only two who climb, Jules and me. When he was a child, he was not so interested in climbing but we have always done activities in the mountains. I climbed for years but I stopped to focus on long trails runs. After that, I restarted to climb and he was old enough to climb too. I climbed 20 years but no so focused on high grades (never trained, just climb). I sent a few 8a's but with a lot of projecting including dedicated little sessions of training and campus boarding.

How do you pick Jules' routes?
I always talk a lot with climbers to know which hard routes could be possible for him with his little size (1m24). Even so, Jules often tries many different routes to find one project and in the end, he has to find his own methods.

How much does he climb and who is he climbing together with?
Most of the time, he climbs twice indoors on our climbing wall and we try to climb outside 3 times in a week. We climb with other people, but it's always adults, climbers of the area or friends. He is not yet in a club. We always climb with the same people. He is not afraid to cheer them loud, which explain maybe his motivation to climb hard. Due to the fact he is not in a club and the global lockdown, he doesn't climb with other kids.

How can you explain his extreme progression?
The fact that he won his first competition counts a lot I think in his actual motivation and in the fact that he always wants to be the best. For example, when we climb in an adult group, he doesn't want extra holds for his size, even crimps. But for sure, the moves are sometimes too long for him. An important thing is we got the global lockdown in France. During this period, the only thing we could do, stuck at home, was playing on the climbing wall. In the beginning, it was playing, but it turned quick in a kind of training sessions, with dedicated movements for his size and his progression.

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