Seb Berthe flashes trad classic Le Voyage (E10, 7a)

Seb Berthe manages the flash ascent of Le Voyage (E10, 7a). The Belgian is the first to succeed James Pearson's route in this style. Only a few climbers have been able to flash such a difficult trad route so far.

James Pearson's line The Journey (E10, 7a) in Annot has had regular visits from the strongest climbers in the world since the first ascent in 2017. But nobody has yet managed to flash the tough Trad route. Now the Belgian climbing pro Seb Berthe exactly this succeeded. Along with Alex Megos' success in The Path (5.14a/R), his flash ascent of Le Voyage is probably one of the most difficult ascents of a self-secured route in this style.

"Flashing Le Voyage was a great moment in my climbing career and I'm really glad I dared to try the flash ascent at all."

Seb Berthe
Seb Berthe is the first climber to flash the Trad classic Le Voyage in Annot. Image: Robbie Phillips
Seb Berthe is the first climber to flash the Trad classic Le Voyage in Annot. Picture: Robbie Phillips

First-hand chance of beta

Inspired by the wall and the line, he has dreamed of climbing Le Voyage since James Pearson's first ascent. "When Jacopo, Siebe and Babsi did this not long ago, I thought it would be a good challenge to attempt a ground-up."

"I knew I was in top form and took the opportunity that my mate Robbie Philips was working on the route and could provide me with good information and beta's."

Seb Berthe

Seb Berthe spent the first day gathering information about the line and looking at videos and pictures from older ascents. There is so much to remember. «How and where do you put the fuses? Where do I pause and what beta do I choose based on my remaining power?"

In advance, Seb Berthe tried to memorize as much information and details about the route as possible. Image: Robbie Phillips
In advance, Seb Berthe tried to memorize as much information and details about the route as possible. Picture: Robbie Phillips

Just one chance

On the day of the experiment, he felt pretty nervous, says Seb Berthe. Because as with every Flash ascent, the same applies to him: You only have one chance. «As soon as I got to the hard parts, I felt better. I climbed fast and with a great flow."

"I didn't make any mistakes until the crux (apart from a moment when I almost fell in an easy spot) and then gave it my all."

Seb Berthe
Arrived in the hard sections, Seb Berthe's nervousness quickly gave way to a great climbing flow.» Image: Robbie Phillips
Arrived in the hard sections, Seb Berthe's nervousness quickly gave way to a great climbing flow.» Picture: Robbie Phillips

And then it happened: "I had managed the boulder and was still able to hold myself in the wall." After a short shaking break, Seb Berthe ventured into the last section of the route, which he climbed very slowly and carefully.

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Credits: Cover picture Robbie Phillips

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