Straight from the South of France, this week’s video comes from Pic Saint-Loup – the majestic local crag of sport climbing master, Seb Bouin. The video follows Bouin in the Autumn of 2020 as he makes the first ascent of the superb line, 'Beyond Integral' (9b/+), a 50 metre route originally bolted by Fedric Ferraro. With the Coronavirus having stopped pro climbers from travelling, we haven’t seen many repeats of the world’s iconic routes. It does mean, however, that more climbers have had the time to fully immerse themselves in local projects like 'Beyond Integral', and in many cases, this has produced bigger grades and better climbing.
Seb Bouin has been at the top of the sport climbing game for years without properly breaking into the top tier. This isn’t to say that he isn’t worthy of a spot alongside the likes of Ondra and Megos, having already climbed over 40 routes graded between 9a and 9b/+. But, his taste for first ascenting at local French crags or remote alternative climbing destinations - such as his FA of ‘Dream’ (9b) in Brar, Albania - make it difficult to properly calibrate his level. Variety is the spice of life and Seb Bouin’s quest to find the most aesthetic line definitely gives us that, 'Beyond Integral' is a thing of beauty.