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by Cédric Lachat

The history of sport climbing in France began at the Saussois crag, near the small village of Merry-sur-Yonne in eastern Burgundy. On this vast and short limestone wall, in the ’70s and ’80s, various technical lines ranging from 7a to 8b+ were first identified and then freed. For many decades, the Saussois represented the highest level at which French climbers could put themselves to the test, challenging their ambitions and their skills.
Illustrious climbers have turned these routes into legends: from Jean Claude Droyer, universally considered to be the father of free climbing, to the other young talents who came specifically to this place from Paris, such as Jean-Pierre Bouvier, the Menestrel brothers, Jacky Godoffe, and JB Tribout. Today, many years later, there are just as many who come — some to test themselves, others to pay homage to the birthplace of French mountaineering, interacting with the community of climbers who gather every day in this place of worship.
Among the most iconic Saussois routes, Chimpanzodrome (7c+) stands out. Long considered the second-most-difficult route in the country, this legendary line extends for 15 meters, straining climbers’ fingers along the entire distance. A test as substantial as it is painful, despite its short length.
Our Swiss ambassador Cedric Lachat (more than 50 9a climbs in his career) decided in the winter of 2023 to climb Chimpanzodrome onsight, that is, without falls, without rest breaks, and, especially, without having previously researched the climb. It is his tribute to the route and to the climbers who tackled it before him, sometimes barefoot, free solo, or even blindfolded.
Chimpanzodrome represents the beginning of Cedric’s project to examine the evolution of climbing. Through the documentary “The Future of Climbing,” created by Guillaume Broust with the support of Karpos, Cedric will visit the most celebrated locations in Europe and the United States to discover how the relationship between indoor and outdoor climbing is developing. From the need to preserve the environment of the crags to the boom in climbing in gyms, there will be topics of interest for the entire outdoor community.
Follow the developments of “The Future of Climbing” on Cedric Lachat’s and Karpos’s channels!



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