Coccinelle Rock article

 In Others

Last September, two articles were published in the Japanese magazine ROCK&SNOW #077, two articles about Cocinelle Rock.

  • The first one, that I co-wrote, is an introduction of the crag and a topo of the routes (also available here)
  • The second one that I wrote, is the short story of the development of the crag and the routes (also narrated in this video)

Here is the content of the second article:

Originally, I had no interest in climbing. What I wanted is climb mountains and experience adventures. If I enjoy and understand the fun of pulling hard moves and pushing yourself through grades, climbing is still for me just a medium for adventure. Sure to find a new wall, you’ll have to spend a lot of days bushwalking for nothing. Sure the success ratio is slim. Sure while doing that you are not climbing. But… what when you do find something? Trying hard and repeating someone else’s route, yeah, it’s a great feeling… But when, on top of the climbing, you put a lot of efforts and hard work to find, clean and bolt the route; how can you beat that feeling?

After spending time looking at maps and satellite pictures, I headed to Biwakubosawa (枇杷窪沢) in October 2015 and found both Castle Rock and Coccinelle Rock on the first day. If this time, finding 2 unclimbed walls was easy, everything else was much harder than I expected. First of all, there was so much cleaning involved! On a route like Jardinage Eternel. We are talking about more than 1 cm thick moss to remove for 20 meters! Look on the sides of the route and you’ll easily understand. When I started, I put the anchors without even knowing if there would be holds under the moss! I also spend time building a stone bench at the base of the climb. I piled up stones in the river to make the crossing easy. I marked the trail. I even had to remove a wasp nest that was created during the summer just above the anchor of Tratratra, making it impossible to climb. That was probably, the most scary and sketchy thing I ever done. When I started, I had no idea of all the things I ended up having to do to make this a nice crag.

But the hardest part was being mostly alone. When I started this journey, I thought that a lot of climbers would be excited to join the adventure. I am very grateful for the ones who helped: Aoshima Ken-ichi, Suzuki Ayako, Yoshinaka Hirotsugu. I wouldn’t have finished the work before leaving Japan without them. But while I had envisioned that as an adventure shared with friends, to my surprise few were interested, ending up in a mostly solitary journey. So my motivation switched to, once the work done, share all the routes and hopefully see everyone having fun.

Total it took me a full year, going there almost every week-end. And between the car rental, gas, highway toll, bolts, chains, glue and everything else, we are talking not only about a lot of time put into this, but also a lot of money.

Being all routes I put a lot of effort to bolt (outside of Tratratra), I have a special attachment to all them. But Pokemon Hook is on top of the list. Not only the moves are intricate and amazing but it is also the hardest route I have ever climbed and I did it when I had lost all hope on sending it on the last attempt I could give it before leaving Japan. I also really like Jardinage Eternel. I truly think that route is a five star gem because outside the first few easy meters, it is a 40 meters long homogeneous 5.10c route all the way, without being just a few specific crux moves problem. And to my experience, such routes are very rare. Unfortunately, I didn’t had the time to climb Tratratra and Have a sit and relax.

I just hope everyone will enjoy the climbs as much as it was a hard word to equip. Also don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the topo I published on my website ; even negative ones. That will be good learning for me about what I did wrong and could do better next time. And for the ones who are interested, there’s another wall in the same valley (Castle Rock) waiting to be bolted (details in the topo).

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