Shortly before the Swiss lockdown, Bernese professional alpinist Nicolas Hojac managed the red point ascent of the 8c route Mission Miranda in the climbing area Lehn near Interlaken.

Shortly before the Federal Council's measures in relation to the corona pandemic were tightened, caught up Nicolas Hojac a red dot ascent of Mission Miranda (8c). We talked to Nicolas about the ascent and the impact of the Corona crisis on his climbing plans.

An interview with professional pinist Nicolas Hojac

How many sessions / attempts did you invest in the inspection?

I didn't count the number of tries and sessions. I actually never do that, unless I climb a route really quickly, then I can still remember it. I targeted the route for the first time last fall, but was unable to climb it because I was preparing for an expedition to Patagonia and sport climbing was therefore of secondary importance. I cannot climb routes of this difficulty without specific training.

A minimal additional effort is required to walk a route of this level of difficulty.

Nicolas Hojac

You scored the route after a relatively short training phase. Did you train specifically for this route?

I didn't train specifically for this route. I wanted to build the best possible shape in the shortest possible time and then see what was possible. I actually flirted with it hybris (8c +), then quickly realized that I would have to invest more in order to climb this route.

Since I almost failed on Mission Miranda in the fall, I knew that my chances were not bad there. So I focused on this one again because I knew that I would soon change my training plan again and that I would have to run long runs again, which is quite counterproductive for climbing difficult routes.

All that was left for me was endurance training on my bike or on foot and the fingerboard at home. 

Nicolas Hojac

The corona crisis has a firm grip on us all. How have your climbing plans changed in the current year due to the situation?

The pandemic has messed things up. Due to the restrictions, I could no longer go mountaineering, paragliding or climbing-specific training in climbing halls. So I almost only had endurance training on my bike or on foot as well as the fingerboard at home. 

What's still to come in 2020?

In spring I would have liked to have implemented one or the other project here in the Alps, which was not possible due to the lockdown and the required solidarity. An expedition to Peru with Thomas Huber, Stephan Siegrist and Yannick Boissenot is planned for the summer. However, I think we cannot do this. We will wait until the end of June with the final decision. Unfortunately, the chances are not really good.

Since it is difficult to plan in the current situation, I only have the training to be ready when it really starts again. It is not always easy to keep discipline without a clear goal in mind. I hope that I can at least implement one or the other idea here in the Alps. Let's see what the future brings.

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Credits: Pictures Nicole Schafer