BD athlete Seb Bouin is undeniably one of the world’s strongest sport climbers. But the tiny crimps and pockets of Céüse—France’s most iconic crag—are self-admittedly his anti-style. Yet, the strong Frenchman revels in the uncertain process of pushing his own limits. So in 2023, having recently dispatched his longstanding DNA project, Seb devoted himself to Céüse’s hardest route—Bibliographie 9b+ (5.15c). Follow Seb’s journey, fraught with failure, to send one of the world’s hardest climbs. 

Black Diamond Presents: Hard Sends with Seb Bouin—Bibliographie (5.15c)
Video: Clarisse Bompard

Céüse has been well known in the climbing world since the birth of sport climbing. Patrick Edlinger shed light on this beautiful wall long time ago.

Chris Sharma made history in Céüse’s with the epic process and send of Biographie 9a+ (5.15a).

I have always admired this wall and all these lines, yet I never felt confident on these tiny pockets and crimps …

Ever since Alex Megos did the first ascent of Bibliographie in 2020, I was really psyched to check out the moves.

I am usually alone when trying my projects in France and not many people try them, but Biblio was something different. A hard line from someone else in France, I wanted to visit it.

In 2021 I was focusing on DNA. I wanted to spend a full season on this route.

Yet I decided to check out Biblio during the summer 2021.

Surprisingly, I was doing well on the route’s tiny holds. It gave me motivation to come back and try it more seriously.

It was going well on both of my projects Biblio and DNA. It was fun to have two projects. But at the same time, it was too much distraction for focusing on a send. I had to make a choice of one and come back for the other after. I chose DNA. I finally did it in spring 2022. It was a bit late in the season to come back to Biblio. So, I came back in Spring 2023.

Bibliographie was a big goal for 2023.

Even if Céüse is very far away from my own natural climbing style, I was really motivated to go through the process.

I fell 11 times at the top of the route (after the main crux). I think I underestimated this last part of the route. It doesn't look or feel that hard when you do this single section in isolation. Yet, when you are climbing from the ground, it was way different.

I remember Sean Bailey actually fell 13 times up there, so I am happy that he still holds the record.

BD athlete Seb Bouin at the main crux of Bibliography

Seb at the main crux of Bibliography.

BD athlete Seb Bouin attempts the last crux on Bibliography.

Seb attempting the last hard move on Bibliography.

This top sequence is something unique. This crux doesn’t feel that hard when you try the single sequence. Yet, when you are coming from the ground, somehow, your hands just open up from the pump.

Conditions were quite challenging this year. It was raining almost every day, and we had to wait patiently for a good window to make an attempt.

Bibliographie is not a route that particularly suits my strengths, so it was a great challenge to do a 9b+ on tiny crimps.

Céüse is a special crag. Time is relative up there. Somehow, the hard route process is slower than other places. It takes time to adapt yourself to the style. The tiny crimps crush the skin quite fast, and we must take care of this and wait when it’s needed. The conditions are also important on these small holds.

Patience and strategy are key in Céüse.

I am happy to learn new things in my life as a climber.

--Seb Bouin

BD athlete Seb Bouin mid-route on Bibliography.

Seb Bouin mid-route on Bibliography

Seb Bouin on the top crux of Bibliography.

Seb Bouin on the top crux of Bibliography