Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Barefoot Climber First to Repeat Original l’Alchimiste (~V14)

Nineteen years after Marc Le Menestrel established l’Alchimiste in Fontainebleau, France—and the crux holds were mysteriously chipped off—the original line of the famous Font test-piece finally sees a second ascent.

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and more benefits with 25% off.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

25% Off Outside+.
$4.99/month $3.75/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Charles Albert sends an 8C (V12) traverse in Fontainebleau, France. Check out the video below to see his barefoot beta in action. [photo: video screen-shot] Nineteen years after Marc Le Menestrel established l’Alchimiste in Fontainebleau, France—and the crux holds were mysteriously chipped off—the original line of the famous Font test-piece finally sees
a second ascent.

Yesterday, Charles Albert, 18, claimed the first repeat of the original (left exit) l’Alchimiste—and he climbed it barefoot.

“No, you aren’t dreaming!” Albert said in an interview with Fanatic Climbing.
He was working the right exit (~V15), a variation around the chipped holds established by Nalle Hukkataival in March and repeated by Alban Levier last week, when he saw Seb Frigault trying the left exit, “with this superb shoulder move,” he said.
“…it looked so nice so I wanted to try it this way.”

Despite the missing crux holds, and no climbing shoes, Albert topped-out during his first session focused on the line, with five or six sessions on the
boulder overall. He suggested a new grade of 8B+ (V14).

Albert began climbing barefoot three or four years ago, inspired by films of Patrick Edlinger. “For me climbing
is better barefoot because the footwork is harder,” he tells Fanatic Climbing. “With climbing shoes, you have just to find the right angle
to get the friction on the foot hold. Barefoot, you must choose whether to crimp with your toes or not, you need to be precise with the position of
your toes in the foothold like you do with your fingers on handholds.

“So for me it’s more focused and more complete. This is this game that I love. Climbing shoes suck! Barefoot your feet aren´t squashed and they don´t smell!”

Watch Charles Albert send an 8C boulder traverse in Font: