Matty Hong's Biographie (9a+) back-story

2 June 2023

Matty Hong has sent Biographie (9a+) in Céüse. This was the 19th ascent of Chris Sharma's iconic route from 2001 which was bolted by Jean-Christophe Lafaille in 1989. (c) Alex Aristei

I first tried the route in 2017 with Margo Hayes and Daniel Woods. We all tried Biographie together for about a month but were unsuccessful. Falling after the crux on my last day made it hard to leave but the season was clearly over. Since then I’ve been dreaming of trying the route again. I planned a trip with a friend from the States to climb in Spain. When we arrived it was too hot so we came to Céüce. I’ve been here about 4 weeks now trying Biographie. It has been a challenging season with a lot of rain but I knew I didn’t want to leave again without completing the route.

I was very strategic this time with my attempts, I learned a lot in 2017 and felt l had to take a new approach. Balancing skin, fatigue, and weather is one of the biggest challenges of climbing here. Sometimes everything can be perfect except for a small cut on the finger which stops any attempt. This year I really enjoyed the process climbing on the route and when I finally did it, it was a surreal moment for me. Something I’ve dreamt about since I was a young climber and certainly since my trip in 2017.”

How did you prepare for the Euro trip?
Most of my training came from bouldering the past few months and then the time I spent learning the route this season. I didn’t prepare specifically for the route as I thought I would be climbing in Spain.

How did you warm up before the redpoint attempts?
Typically as a warm up I would start on a hand board, this gets my fingers ready without compromising the skin. I would then go up Biographie to brush the holds and get reacquainted with the movements. I find warming up on my project useful as it gives me a good idea of how I am feeling that day. Typically I could give two good tries per day, following the 2 on 1 off schedule. Although weather quickly because of the determinant for our schedule.

How come you think Biographie has become such an iconic route?
This route is not only iconic for its history but also for its notorious difficulty. Despite 15a [9a+] being a commonly climbed grade these days this route has certainly challenged some of the best climbers. I believe the route also presents a unique balance of difficulty which requires bouldering strength, endurance and a strong mind. These aspects all together make the route so amazing.

What's next?
I have another few days here and I’ve begun trying , the moves feel good and I’m excited to return.

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