|Zebloc interviewed Tony Lamiche, you know, that French guy who is flashing 8B problems all around the world (Mandala, Leopard Cave,â€¦) and who has recently repeated The Fly. Here, Tony gives us some info about The Fly, hard problems, gradingâ€¦ Enjoyâ€¦
Zebloc : Who are you, where do you come from, and what is your business ?
Tony : Anthony Lamiche son of JC Lamiche (electrician) and Michelle Lamiche (hairdresser).. I come from l’Argentiere La BĂ©ssĂ©e, Hautes Alpes. I am a full time climber, future guide and a ski instructor.
Zebloc : Measures?
Tony : This is a little bit too personnal, but roughly, 5’9, and 136 Lbs when I am in shape.
Zebloc : Tell us about your recent trip to the USA, and ‘The Fly’ (Video here). Do you know that since then, it has been soloed ? Would you call that soloing or bouldering ? Did you not think about trying this without a rope ?
Tony : It was really interesting to discover this side of the US. I did not see anything major, but since we were there for the Gunks rock trip, we took advantage of the situation by doing some ticks, including The Fly. I tried it at the beginning of the trip, one day where Jason Kehl (the guy who sent The Fly cordless) was also trying it. It was too warm, but 5 days before we left, temperatures dropped, which allowed me to try it and fall » at the top » after a few tries. Breaking it down, this problem consists of 4 hard moves, maybe 8A+, followed by 3 easy moves, 7A/B. You climb over a small terrace, so that if you fall in the last 5 moves, you fall behind it, which makes for a big crash. I did not try to solo it because I did not have any crashpads, not months to tune the moves (Jason has been trying it for a long time), and no insurance for a hospital visit. I think it’s more high bouldering. Highballing is really cool : it feels like steep skiing, you do something that you technically master, but leaves you few chances if you make even the smallest mistakeâ€¦
Zebloc : What are your projects and future trips ?
Tony : I am currently wearing my La Sportiva shoes and my Eider jacket, putting my passport in my Freestone handbag, cleaning my Beal crashpad to leave l’ArgentiĂ¨re for Hueco for two weeks (OK, we forgot to ask him about his sponsorsâ€¦).
Zebloc : Are you working on hard projects right now ?
Tony : No, I do not have that many projects left in the area, but I should travel a bit more in Switzerland, to Bleau, in Meschia and in Austria to try hard and nice stuff. Next week, I will try ‘Slashface ‘.
Zebloc : Dreamtime?
Tony : I was just there with my friend JĂ©jĂ© (JĂ©rĂ´me Meyer). I tried it at night, and the top of if was wet. This is very hard to link altogether, the first part is 10/12 moves in hard 8A+, I think, no rest, and a second part in 8A, 10/12 moves. This makes a long problem of extreme climbing, but not a bummer (in terms of power) boulder problem. If I find the courage and endurance for such a big project, I will try it, because the line is beautiful.
Zebloc : Do you know St Anne, l’Anarchiste andPhilip Moser ?
Tony : I have friends in the area, and they never found any nice problems in St Anne, so I do not give it any importance.
Zebloc : The nicest problem you ever climbed ?
Tony : I think about Mandala SDSâ€¦. Hard and Beautifulâ€¦ Or everything that is fun !!!
Zebloc : Bouldering compsâ€¦ You do not do this anymore ?
Tony : I have been doing this for 10 years, and really loved it. Now, with more experience, I do not feel a need for this anymore. If, in the near future, they come to natural spots, then I will take part. If not, just to get back in shape and see my friends from time to time.
Zebloc : And dry tooling on logs between painted circles, are you really in it, or is it just to travel and make you sponsors happy ?
Tony : This has been a very pleasant part of my life, because it was a new way to move. Now, it looks too much like competition, and I prefer climbing outside, because there is still a bunch of lines in ice and dry.
Zebloc : Who is the strongest boulderer in the world ?
Tony : This is a very simple question, you just have to take the results of the last world championship and world cup, and you have the answer. Everything else must remain pleasure, nice pictures, and tutti quanti !!
Zebloc : Who impressed you the most in Ailefroide ?
Tony : Smith’s trip (Will Smith or Malcolm Smith ?) was high level, but I saw no one in a trip leaving with a bunch of ticks. Locals are very efficient (Lombard, Ghesquiers, Fourbet, Semionds,â€¦).
Zebloc : You flash 8B everywhere, and you work for months on 8Bs at Ailefroide. Isn’t it weird ?
Tony : I think it is just a different vision of the slope. There is only one 8B at Ailefroide, and I did it in the day, but I waited several years before I had the level (considering I did it in the day, I do not think it’s really so extreme, but the grading scale does not allow me to grade it more precisely).
Elsewhere, the problem is a little bit the same with styles that are sometime innovative, people add degrees to the scales they know, and this gives grading that get a little bit mad.
Personally, I do not think that I flashed any problem harder than 8A/8A+, but things cannot all be graded precisely, because it is too subjective.That’s why things can be considered differently depending on the places where you climb. I think the whole grading system should be revised to be more adapted to bouldering and style diversity.
A small proposal I am thinking of. Example : up to 7B+, I rarely saw anything aberrant, so we will start from there.
7b+ 7c- 7c 7chard 7c+ 8a- 8a 8ahard 8a+ 8b- 8b 8bhard 8b+……
v8 v8+ v9 v9+ v10 v10+ v11 v11+ v12 v12+ v13 v13+ v14……..
Here is the ideaâ€¦ It works better in US grades, because I do not like the 8Ahard too much, and we should find a better name that keeps the old grades, so that you do not get lost.
Moreover, you have to give the number of moves, and whether the problem is contrived.
Some famous problems as an example :
- Surprise SDS 8a- 11mvts (stand up 7b+ 7 mvts) Ailefroide
- Virata SDS 8ahard 10mvts (stand up 8a 7mvts) Ailefroide
- Balai des tracto-pelles 8b- 5mvts Ailefroide
- Mandala SDS 8b 14mvts (stand up 8adur 10 mvts) Bishop
- Spectre 8b- 10mvts hard and a long 7b exit Bishop
- HĂ©rĂ©sie SDS 8a+ 8 mvts chamonix
- Dominator SDS 8b- 7 mvts Yosemite
- Tigre et dragon 8a- 10/12 mvts Bleau
- Karma 8a 5 mvts Bleau
- Chaos Standing Start 8a- 6mvts Jeje Meyer proposal Bleau
- Black eagle 8ahard 5mvts Afrique du Sud
- Leopard cave 8a hard 6mvts and an easy exit south Africa
- Cold wing style 8ahard 5mvts Bonneval
- The fly 8b- 7mvts US
These are some examples of pure bouldering, you need a special grade if you add moves to these problems (traverse has been there for a while). I think about this for problems like Trip Hop, Chaos SDS, Dreamtime and Surprise du Chef Traverse which are extreme because they are long and include high intensity moves. I don’t remember exactly where I started, and I probably did not answer your question ! To make things short, depending on styles, it’s different.
Zebloc : There is at least a spot where you do not seem so strong as anywhere else : Fontainebleau. Why ?
Tony : It’s just that I must not be that strong, not muscled enough, and also that I did not invest myself in hard problems in Fontainebleau, because every time I am there, conditions are not so good. For now, I enjoy classics, and I will try to spend a good winter in Bleau soon.
Zebloc : Last question : your record for ArgentiĂ¨re – Ailefroide in Impreza ?
Tony : I am not proud of it, but it’s shortâ€¦ I will sell it next week, because I am not a pilot, and I do not want to end in a wall.
Zebloc : Last question again : your 5 favorite problems in Ailefroide (not only hard stuff, OK ?)
Tony : Virata, le Balai des Tractopelles, Demain c’est Loin, la Steppe, Compote de Bloc.
Zebloc wishes to thank Pascal Lenormand for the translation and Rochelle Evans for the corrections.