Ma belle ma muse – First ascent

On April 2nd I promised to give the full story of my first FA soon. Now, more than 3 months later, I only give you a short story of the 3-week rockclimbing trip I made in Springtime. I apologize for that and hope to become a more up-to-date climber in the future. 😉 So here it comes:

After the winter break and a few months of indoor training, I was looking forward to feeling rock again. Now the question was: where to go? Our French friend Seb Richard, suggested a project in Romeyer, a climbing spot in south-east France. It seemed like an exciting idea, so I decided to give it a chance. The first time I would try a never-climbed route…

It turned out to be a rather short, traversing, crimpy and skin-eating project which was not exactly my style, but… it felt possible. And after a process of working out the movements, memorizing all the holds and footholds, starting to do real attempts, making good progress, falling about 4 times at the last hard move just underneath the chain and deciding to do one more attempt before the day was over, I finally clipped the chain. Wow, my first First Ascent!

Pic by Seb Richard

Pic by Seb Richard

Thanks to Jean-Elie for giving me his bèta even though he was very close to succeeding himself. He topped it right after me. Congrats! 🙂
Seb Richard was the passionate photographer next to me while I was doing attempts. Thanks for the pictures and videos!
And of course I don’t want to forget my parents who so lovingly support (and belay!) me whenever I need it.

And the grade? I personally thought it was a hard 8c+, perhaps an 8c+/9a. Some climbers suggested 9a, but I’m still not convinced that it is truly 9a. I’m looking forward to more sends and opinions about this route!

After this, the trip wasn’t over yet so I moved to Pierrot Beach near Pont-en-Royans to try another project. I was able to do all the moves of this route, but had to leave it due to bad weather. Rain, fog, a cold north wind, … I had 2 options left: going north (meaning home) or going further south. I chose the last one and went to Orgon Canal where I climbed Bronx.

A few more details:
Ma belle ma muse (grade to be confirmed) – 9 attempts – about 6 climbing days
Bronx (8c+) – 3 attempts – 2 climbing days

And some nice posts about my trip to France: Crush CruxSiked! (in Dutch) –

Chamonix and Briançon

I have many reasons for being grateful for my results in the last worldcups. This season I hoped to do as well as last year, but this is much more than I expected!
Briançon will stay in my memory for a long time. It was so special. Heavy rain, a shower of hail while warming up, flashes of lightning and no more light in isolation. That’s why the finals had to be cancelled. All of a sudden I realised how small we as humans are.

It was so nice to go to the worldcups with my friend Celine, who climbed her first worldcups and first semifinal. We had a great time training, swimming and relaxing in between the competitions.

My final route in Chamonix (1 hour 32 min 28 sec).
My semifinal route in Briançon (2 hours 30 min 30 sec).


Worldcup Valence

My parents and I travelled to France 2 days before the competition. We had a nice relaxing day at the rocks where my parents climbed and I studied and enjoyed the sunny weather.

The qualifications went very well. I did not feel totally warmed up in the 1st route, but I was happy that I fell quite high up. The 2nd route was very hard at the end. Although I felt really pumped, I was able to top out!

In the semifinals I really had to fight, but I was happy that I had been able to give everything. Then the speaker said that I would be in the finals!

I was so happy to be in the finals and to read the route together with the strongest female climbers! The beginning of the route was terrible, but it was amazing to climb with so many people cheering me on. The moves were really hard and I fell totally exhausted, but very happy. I loved watching the other climbers like Jain Kim who climbed the route so beautifully! 🙂

It was an unbelievable competition and I am very thankfull for this experience!

Mathilde became 17th and Loïc 19th.

Photo: H. Wilhelm 

Worldcup Puurs (20-21/9/13)

It really was an amazing weekend… It was difficult to believe that a dream had come true.

From worst to best

I climbed a good 1st qualifier, but in the 2nd one I hesitated a lot, put my foot on the wrong place and slipped. Right in the beginning. So I climbed my worst competition route ever, in front of my home public. Very disappointing. I thought that my competition was over but, thank God, due to my good 1st route, I still was in the semifinal!

At home we luckily watched the movie again and I saw that I was not that stupid as I had thought. My foot had really stood on the wrong place, so it was obvious that I had hesitated that much. I already felt a little better…

In the semifinal I felt very good and I did not have a lot of stress. There were really hard parts in the route, but I did not want to give up and lots of people were cheering me on. I fell totally tired and I was very happy that I had been able to  climb well.

Seminfinal route (Photo:

There still were lots of strong climbers to come, but to my suprise I stayed on the 1st place for a long time. As time passed by I started realising that maybe there was a small chance of being in the final. To my surprise I just made it to the finals with an 8th place.

This was amazing. Lots of people came to congratulate me. I went to our camper on the parking lot and tried to sleep a little bit until our coach, Tijl, told me it was time to go to isolation.

Strange, as happy as I was, looking out of the window in the boulder area I could see the kids playing and having fun. I heard the dyno contest going on and I remembered the times when I was still too young to participate at the Worldcup that I had had a lot of fun. Somehow I felt like a bird in a cage but then I braved myself and started warming up.

Then the presentation, great. It was so amazing to stand next to all the top climbers  and it was all a bit strange. I did the observation with Hélène and later with Maggi. They are such nice girls and I really liked reading the route with them.

Then it was my turn to climb and I just enjoyed everything. It was the first time I really liked the climbing in a competition and I could climb without being too nervous. I decided not to take risks in the beginning. I could hear the crowd shouting at the top of their voices and it was amazing to climb with so many lovely people cheering me on. Somehow Helène and Maggi fell lower than me and I ended up 6th.

During the final route (Photo:

Jain Kim won the competition, Mina Marcovic was 2nd and Momoka Oda 3rd. In the men’s competition Jakob Schubert took the gold medal, followed by Sachi Amma and Sean McColl.

Thanks to all the people from the club who supported me and cheered me on!

I even got a picture from friends in Rodellar to encourage me before the competition. 🙂

EYC Stavanger (7-8/9/13)

The 2nd and last European Youth Cup of the season was held in the beautiful city of Stavanger, Norway. It was the first time a Scandinavian country hosted an international climbing competition.

Saturday was the first day of competition. Although the weather outside was nice, the wall was situated in a big sport complex for curling and ice-skating. Which meant… quite cold, but ok for climbing. In the first route my foot slipped at the last move. I had to climb last in the 2nd one and I saw that the route was difficult to climb within 6 minutes. I managed to top out although it was harder than I had expected.

That day the Belgians did really well and 8 qualified for the finals! Maëlys, Héloïse, Celine, Nicolas, Lucas, Chloé, Emilie and me.

In the finals we had the same route as the male youth B and female Juniors. There was a double dyno in the middle (which is quite stressful for a competition ;-)) and the top part was not easy to understand. I was happy that I was able to do the jump and I finally won the competition! Julia Chanourdie from France had only one ‘plus’ less than me and became 2nd. Jara Späte from Switzerland was 3rd.

Because Julia was 1st in Edinburgh and I was 2nd, we both won the final ranking together! 🙂

Celine climbed very well and became 3rd in female youth B! She also won the European Youth Cup together with Eva Scroccaro from Italy.

It was a very nice and well organised competition with very friendly volunteers. After the competition we had a relaxing walk at the sea-side and a dinner with the French and Swiss teams!

Julia, Jara and me (Photo:


Silver at World Youth Championships (16-19/8/13)

To Canada!

I had never been to the American continent before, so it was a nice experience to discover it! We left on Tuesday early in the morning with 6 Belgian climbers and 2 coaches and arrived at Vancouver Island on Wednesday.

The qualifications (day 1 and 2)
On Friday, the 1st day of the competition, I was able to top out my route just as Julia Chanourdie (FRA) and Jessica Pilz (AUT). Celine (Youth B female) and Loïc (Junior male) topped their first route too.

The 2nd day I had to climb last. It was the technical route which my team mate Celine had climbed the day before. 11 girls had been able to top in my group and fortunately I topped out too. After the qualifications all the Belgians were in the semi-final!

Whew… a rest day
On Sunday we had a rest day and our coach had arranged a great excursion for us. With a speedboat we sailed in the Pacific Ocean to go whale watching. We were in the middle of a 3D nature documentary. Water birds, orcas, sea-lions and even an eagle. We searched for the fins of orcas who appeared again from time to time to take breath. Breath…taking.

The semi-final
In the semi-final I climbed last but one. During observation we thought that the route was really hard. And indeed it was: flat holds, strange moves and full of risks. I was able to reach hold 45+ in the roof and Jessica climbed a bit higher (46+). I was happy with a provisional 2nd place because I could have fallen much earlier. Celine climbed very good and placed 8th, just enough to be in the final!

Loïc unfortunately just missed the finals. One move to the next hold would have been enough. Emilie, who had a nice 9th place after the qualifications slipped sadly enough at hold 8.

The final
The first part of the final route was made of far moves to fairly good holds. Then followed a middle part with only volumes. The top part was a roof with more obvious moves. During observation we did not know very well how to climb that middle part. I finally decided not to hesitate, but it was very hard. From the 16 girls (Youth B and Youth A climbed the same route) who had to climb this route, 11 fell in the middle part without being pumped. I think that is a pity. Luckily the last part was nicer. 2 moves from the top the holds were so bad that it was almost not possible to make the next move. I hesitated because I did not want to give up. Then I was so tired that I could only do a plus to the next hold. I fell at 48+.

Julia Chanourdie from France had climbed to 47+, so both of us were already sure of being on the podium. I was very happy that I could be sure about a silver medal, but I knew that I could also become first. Jessica also had difficulties in the middle part, but managed to climb it. She also fell at hold 48+. Because of the countback to the semi-final she won the competition. Congrats Jessi! Celine ended up 8th, which is a great result for her first world championships! 🙂

Jessica, Julia and me (Picture: Denis Timmermans)

European Youth Championship Imst (27-28/7/13)

The European Youth Championships were held in Imst this year. When we arrived in Imst it was really hot. In the evening during the opening ceromony the rain started pouring down, so all climbers had to take shelter in the big tent. 🙂

The next day we started early and in the morning it was still cool. The first qualification route had a crux in the beginning. I almost fell at this point, but I could luckily continue. When I arrived in the last part of the route I hesitated. Some girls before me had fallen here by taking an intermediate hold, so I thought that the hold had to be bad. I decided to skip the intermediate hold and make a plus to the next one, which of course was the wrong decision.

The beginning of the 2nd route was vertical and then the route became very hard. I was really happy that I managed to top out!

The second qualification route (Photo: Yves Guérit)

3 of my team mates were in the finals as well: Nicolas Collin (male youth B), Celine Cuypers (female youth B) and Loïc Timmermans (male Juniors).

On Sunday all the girls had the same final route. It looked nice, but also logical for which I was happy. The first part was harder than I had expected. In the roof there was a hard move and it was difficult to clip. I became more and more tired and did some more moves. I fell totally pumped and was really satisfied.

The girls final route

Jessica Pilz from Austria climbed amazing and topped the route! Congratulations Jessi :-)! She was 1st, I became 2nd and Hannah Schubert (AUT) 3rd.

Female Youth A podium 🙂

Nicolas became 5th, Celine was 10th and Loïc 4th. He fell at the same place as Jefta from Israël who won bronze because of the countback.

After the competition my parents and I stayed a little longer to try some of the routes. Then we finally drove home after 3 weeks of holiday and competitions. 😉