5.14 Crack Climbed in Québec
One of the hardest crack climbs in North America has been pinkpointed after three years of attempts by the Québecois Jean-Francois “Jeff” Beaulieu. La Zébrée (The Striped) is a finger and hand crack that slashes about 80 feet through a multiroofed, black-and-white-streaked, granite cave at Mont King in the Val David area of Québec. The grade is not confirmed, but it is thought to be at least 5.14a.
Beaulieu, who runs Délire Holds company, is one of Canada’s strongest climbers, but his attempts on La Zébrée were handicapped by the fact that the crack often was wet. Beaulieu pre-protected the climb with removable gear, in part because trying to redpoint it while placing pro would mean strenuously aiding the entire climb to clean it after each failed attempt. “I will continue to train, and when I am big and strong, I will try again in a better style,” he wrote to a forum on www.drtopo.com. “However, I would need a team to climb the route after each try to clean it. For the moment, with the strength I have, this is the best I can do.”
A superb video of Beaulieu's attempts on the climb last year can be seen at www.drtopo.com/quebec/zebree.html.