L' appat 5.13a

 
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Yosemite Falls Wall


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
First ascent of l’Appât (12 pitches - 8a - 450m - grade VI)
Saturday March 12, 2011 9:07am
Written by Chris van Leuven for climbing magazine.

See photos of L Appat here

Belgian Nicolas Favresse has free-climbed a major new route in Yosemite Valley without adding any new fixed protection. Nicolas, 25, worked for a month on L’Appât (VI 5.13a), the first free route up a big wall about 200 feet right of Yosemite Falls. (L’Appât means the “bait” or “lure” in French.) Nicolas climbed the route all free on September 9, leading every pitch.

Belgian Nicolas Favresse has free-climbed a major new route in Yosemite Valley without adding any new fixed protection. Nicolas, 25, worked for a month on L’Appât (VI 5.13a), the first free route up a big wall about 200 feet right of Yosemite Falls. (L’Appât means the “bait” or “lure” in French.) Nicolas climbed the route all free on September 9, leading every pitch.

L’Appât consists of 12 long pitches with all natural anchors, except for two bolted belays on aid climbs crossed by the new line. Nicolas did not add any fixed gear, and thus the protection is at times rather spicy. The first five pitches are around 5.10, and as the face steepens the difficulty increases, with pitches of 5.12d, 5.12b, 5.12c, 5.12d, 5.11b, 5.13a/b and 5.10a. The route combines crack and face climbing with some hard, runout face and stemming sections, sometimes with old fixed copperheads for pro. While working on the route, Nicolas took 30-foot whippers onto small copperheads, terrifying his belayer.

This was the second trip to the Valley for Favresse. Last fall, in a month-long trip, Nicolas and his friend Seán Villanueva quickly learned how to trad climb on The Rostrum, Astroman and The Crucifix, and then they redpointed Free Rider on El Cap (VI 5.12d), onsighting 35 of the 36 pitches.

Nicolas said completing his new climb, “felt really good! This experience taught me a lot and opened my eyes to the huge potential for new extreme long routes.”


“Did your climbing trip in the USA change your vision of traditional climbing and climbing in general?”

“Completely. It made me notice how much traditional climbing is a huge part of the sport that was missing from my experience. The crack climbing techniques, the engagement, the placement of gear… So many elements that were unknown for me up to then.

I surprised myself fighting very hard for routes rated no more than 5.9 (4+). I had the impression that I was relearning how to climb. It was a great lesson in humility for me.

Since my first trip to Yosemite, traditional climbing on big walls became clearly one of my priorities in my climbing. It’s the atmosphere created by the height, the exposure, and the beauty†of the environment. It’s the adventure of a long journey, full of emotion and challenges. It’s the satisfaction of topping out on impressive walls. It’s beautiful pitches that follow a clear line of weakness in the rock. This is exactly what attracts me to this type of climbing.

Also opening my route, “l’Appât” (8a - 450 m fully on traditional gear), has broadened my viewpoint and given me a new point of focus to opening free big walls, rather than repeating existing lin

First ascent topo of L appat
First ascent topo of L appat
Credit: Nicolas Favresse

  Trip Report Views: 1,155
Chris McNamara
About the Author
When Chris Van Leuven moved to Yosemite out of high school in the summer of 1995 he never imagined he would climb a big wall, after all he was a scrawny gym rat just learning the ways of trad. Within a few months he managed to make it up the Regular NW Face of Half Dome, barely; in the process he earned the nickname "Spaz." He stayed the winter, making a living cleaning rooms at the Awhahnee Hotel to support his climbing habit. That spring he climbed El Cap, via the Salathé Wall, for the first tim­e and was hooked. Over the next 15 years he would call Yosemite his seasonal home, developing his free climbing skills and bringing them to the big walls. The Salathé remains his favorite climb.
He lives in Loveland, Colorado with his wife, Lynn, and dog Jake.

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Photo: Chris McNamara
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