Adventures of a Route Developer
He's got an insatiable desire to bolt new lines and an endless wealth of stories to tell. Authentic in every way — meet route developer, Nicolas Glée!
April 5 2022
- Name: Nicolas Glée
- Main activity: Co-manager of the Espace Vertical climbing gyms
- Side activity: Climbing, route development, extreme fishing, metal sculpture
- Favorite spot: Manikia, Greece and Vercors, France, where I'm from.
- Known for: Developing routes, I especially love bolting tufa routes! My goal is to explore different kinds of rock in different regions.
Tip: Don't force a sequence on a climb — the rock will naturally dictate the easiest path.
Got any good stories to share?
Here's a story about how one of the routes I bolted got its name. One November day, I went to a new sector with my friend, Bertrand. We could access the cliff from above, but it wasn't very straightforward; we used a small fixed rope to descend into the couloir. Throughout the day we each worked on bolting a new route right next to each other. It started to rain so we decided to make a little fire.
When I was done at the end of the day, I topped out the cliff and went to meet him by the car. It was already dark, and since I finished after him, he should've already been there waiting for me. Of course, back in the day, we didn't have cell phones! I waited for 20 minutes. It was dark, it was raining, and Bertrand still wasn't there.
Without a headlamp, I felt my way through the darkness and returned to the top of the couloir where the fixed line started. I called out his name but got no response. I decided to take the car and go about 5km down the road to get some light. In the time it took to get the light and come back to descend the couloir, tension was building — a kind of psychosis began to take hold of me and I started to panic. I found myself at the base of the cliff 2 hours after we had separated. Bertrand was there, huddled next to the fire! He couldn't find the way back and was waiting patiently for me to come and find him, or for the light of morning. We finally climbed back out of the couloir together. He called his route "Le naufrage de la nuit" or "Shipwreck of the Night" (7b) and I called mine "Psychose Nocturne" or "Nocturnal Psychosis" (7c+), and the night ended with us returning home as snow began to fall.
Nicolas Glée teaching the art of route development to the young German climber, Martina Demmel, in the lovely Manikia, Greece.
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