Katherine Choong climbs La Fiesta de Los Metallos (8b, 200m)

Last Monday, Swiss climber Katherine Choong was able to repeat the challenging multi-pitch route La Fiesta de Los Metallos (8b, 200) in the Verdon Gorge.

The Metal Festival With difficulties up to 8b and a length of 200 meters, it is one of the harder test pieces in the VerdonRecently, the Jurassian Katherine Choong managed to repeat the multi-pitch route drilled by Olivier Dutel and Nico Potar.

The pitches of La Fiesta de Los Metallos are very varied: corners, cracks, tufas, holes, ledges, large overhangs and old-school slab climbing – a must do

Katherine Choong

Difficult conditions: first rain, then heat

Katherine Choong and her partner had already attempted the route for the first time in April. However, moisture thwarted their plans. "Due to the heavy rain, most of the route was soaking wet." So they checked out the few dry sections and returned in June.

Although it was dry at this point, the conditions were anything but ideal with 24 degrees and no wind. Despite the difficult conditions, Katherine Choong managed to climb the first two pitches without falling.

The first two pitches were harder than expected. The heat and humidity combined to make for really bad friction.

Katherine Choong
Katherine Choong in La Fiesta de Los Metallos in the impressive Verdon Gorge. Image: @julia.cassou
Katherine Choong in La Fiesta de Los Metallos in the impressive Verdon Gorge. Image: @julia.cassou 

Fight to the last

To her own surprise, Katherine Choong was able to redpoint the crux pitch and the following pitches (7a, 8a) in a big fight. Now only the last pitch remained, crowned by a difficult section at the very top.

I felt super tired, but I fought through to that final section, took the 2-finger hole... and fell.

Katherine Choong

She was extremely frustrated, but she didn't want to give up. After a break, she tried again. Although she had hardly any skin left on her fingers and little power, she managed to go further than in the previous attempt. When she fell into the rope anyway, Katherine Choong had a big grin on her face:

I was happy to have given it my all and experienced another incredible adventure, although it was not enough and I fell two meters below the top

Katherine Choong
Enjoy the diverter
Katherine Choong: "It was such a joyful moment and I was so happy to share it again with my partner Jim, who supported me throughout the whole process."

“I knew exactly what I had to do”

After two days of rest, Katherine Choong made another attempt, which she remembers as follows: "I had to fight hard again to get through all five of the first pitches without falling. I felt stressed, but super excited for the last pitch.

I started climbing and felt the strong support of my partner Jim. I struggled in the first part of the route, but still managed to reach the last section. Now there was only one crux left for me to overcome."

I knew exactly what I had to do. I gave it my all, climbed through the crux and reached the anchor.

Note on climbing style: Apart from the first pitch (7b+, top rope), Katherine Choong climbed all pitches in lead and without a knee pad.

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Credits: Cover picture @julia.cassou

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