Speed Solo, Roc de Tovière

Last year, whilst watching the Climbing World Cup in Chamonix, I was impressed when I watched the speed climbers, and have often wondered how I could incorporate this into the mountain environment, if at all.

Today, I climbed the via ferrata ‘Roc de Toviere’ in 1hr 8mins. The topo sheet for the Roc de Toviere, which was free from the tourist information office in Val-d’Isere, recommends 5-7 hours to climb the route. 1hr 8mins felt like a good achievement and I even managed to take a photograph whilst climbing en route (see below). I must admit, however, that I did wear a harness and lanyard, just in case I needed to clip in at some point along the route (it was very hot before I started to climb and I was slightly concerned I may develop sweaty hands). Whilst climbing the route, however, this was not the case, as I did not need to clip in at all, which is what probably allowed me to climb the route so quickly. I felt both focussed and strong whilst climbing. When I realized I was going to climb the route in just over an hour I really pushed myself when I was approaching the summit. Finally, when I reached the summit, I immediately checked the time and was then almost out of breath for at least a few minutes. Eventually I recovered and began to feel relaxed. I sat on the summit sipping water and admiring the views. I sat there for some time until I began to feel stiff muscles and then decided to walk back to the chalet. As I was walking back to the chalet some blisters began to develop on my fingers, a reminder of what I had just done.
I then spent almost the whole afternoon relaxing in the health spa, alternating from hot and cold in the sauna (85-90°c) and Jacuzzi (10°c). The Jacuzzi was not cold enough! I have been using this method after exercising for at least an hour every day to help reduce any potential injuries. I think it works as I have not once woken up the following day feeling stiff muscles. I think there may be some science behind it all, but I haven’t read too much into it.
I can’t believe I am not trying harder.

Roc de la Toviere