Name: Fred Nicole
Born: Vevey, 21.05.70
Living in: Dietikon (ZH), Switzerland
Height: 180 cm.
Weight: 75 kg.
Began Climbing: 21 years ago
Best Onsight (sport climbing): 8a/8a+
Best Flash (Sport climbing): no idea
Hardest Redpoint: 9a/9a+ La Chimère
Best flash (bouldering): V13/8b
Hardest boulder: 8c (Dipende, Poinçeunneur des lilas, Black Eagle s.d., Terre de Sienne, El Techo de los tres B, Dreamtime 1st version…, New Base line and maybe some more)
Favourite climbing style: steep climbing on good rock
Favourite sport climbing crag: Red Rocks
Favourite bouldering spot: Hueco, Rocklands, and many more
Favourite Route: every day a different one
Favourite Boulder Problem: dito
Competition Results: 1st 91, 93, 95 Swiss Cup, 4th World Competition Tokio 91, 6th World Cup 91
Music: music from all over the world
Favourite drink: chinotto
Alimentation-Favourite meal: as long as it is well prepared I like everything
Hey Fred, it seems that your favourite hobby is to push climbing limits! Which is the most important performance of yours for you?
My main motivation is not pushing the climbing limits but to push my own limits in climbing. For this reason some of my most important memories are the ones were I really felt I've done an important step on my personal progression. In 1985 when I did my first 7b traverse in Eclépens was one of this moments I like to remember.
Pushing the limits has a certain "pioneering connotation": what does mean for you to discover new moves without any references when you try new challenges?
To discover new lines and new moves was always my motivation without thinking of pushing the limits or being a pioneer. Climbing for me goes with the nature and the lack of references is a gift more then a problem.
You are one of the few professional climbers that climb without taking part in competitions. How is this miracle possible?
Luckily my sponsors believe in my way of doing. They never sponsored me for taking part in competitions and I'm very thankful for this.
Fred Nicole on "Le Spectre", V14, Buttermilks, U.S.A. Ph: Mary Gabrielli
How did you start climbing?
I started with my older brother François back in 1983. We went to the closest cliff from our home. I found it very strenuous and scary and I didn't want to go back on a rock ever! One year later I tried again and kind of liked it…
What did impress you the most in your climbing trips around the world?
Speaking of climbing: the infinite variety of rocks and landscapes that our great planet offer to us.
How do you choose your road-trip destinations?
Sometimes it's just a question of chances and of taking the opportunities at the right time. Sometimes I get inspired by pictures, friends and many other things… I don't have a recipe.
South Africa & Rocklands: what does move you to fly there nearly every year? What do You find more there with respect to other places?
Probably it's because we discovered it. The place is still very wild and wide. I only go there during northern emisphere summer, during the rest of the year I also travel to other places and other countries. Last year for example I went to Italy, Japan, France, Spain, Austria and twice to the US! And the rest of the time I'm exploring and developing many places in Switzerland.
Your freakiest climbing trip?
Maybe my first vacation with François in Buoux, back in 1985 or 86. Because we were completely out of the climbing scene there. We were very well prepared for bouldering and we found long scary technical routes. Still it was a funny time.
Fred Nicole Ph: Mary Gabrielli
Leopards?!?! Have You never seen them in Rocklands? There are some mythological stories about them stealing your meals!
I don't know what people tell…
Bouldering & sport-climbing: why did You decide to dedicate yourself mostly to bouldering?
I was always afraid of height, so bouldering became the way of expressing myself in climbing.
What about Realization…have you tried it?
I was never in Ceuse. For the reason I explained before, I'm not sure it's the best place for me. But who knows?
Motivation…how important is it for you, and what keep you motivated after so many years on top…even after injuries?)
If I would not be motivated I would stop climbing. It's as simple as that. I still have so much to learn about climbing and I think this keeps me motivated.
Do you train indoor or just climb outdoor?
I don't really train but I climb a lot outdoor. Since there is the new bouldering gym in Pratteln B2. Sometime, when the weather is bad, I'm there too.
Do you have any special project?
I always have projects. Every time I do one, there is another one waiting…
What about your last trip to Hueco Tanks this winter?
I did the first ascent of Terre de Sienne and El Techo de los Tres B.
Terre de Sienne is on a patinaed wall left of the classic Diaphanous Sea. It’s a stand-up start with a long lock-off move to grab a very small edge, followed by another hard move. The rest of the problem is easier, but it adds some character to the line.
El Techo de los Tres B is on the Nacho Man Boulder and climbs an obvious cave line.
To find myself back in Hueco, even with its restrictions, was a great pleasure. And it’s a surprise constantly renewed to discover that there is still so much potential in this place.
When the first 9A boulder?
Malcolm Smith recently (06/01/04 - PlanetFear.com) said: "I see Monk life as a bottom end 8b+, only just scraping into the grade. It's a bit harder than some things I've done like The Ace which get 8b. I think in Britain we have a harsher scale than in Europe and there's loads of room in 8b+ for absolutely sick things which are harder than Monk Life. I can't see any reason to give anything 8c. That grade is unbelievable and I struggle to believe anyone around can climb it. We've got to be sensible about these things."
Maybe Malcolm doesn't see a reason to give anything 8c. I respect it, but it remains Malcolm's subjective impression. I think bouldering as well as climbing is continuously improving even if there are mistakes in grading. I was never in Britain so I can't judge about the grading there.
How is the situation about chipping in Swiss now? Still a hot topic?
It seams like.
Fred Nicole on " Alma Blanca ", V12 / V13, Hueco Tanks, TX, U.S.A.
Ph: Mary Gabrielli
Why, in your opinion, so many top bouldering spots risk to be closed?
Because many people are not educated for being in the nature. They are acting like consumers and don't respect the places they visit.
Any anecdote about you or your climbing experience?
After climbing for 20 years it's hard to pick up only one anectode…
A message to all "FreakClimbers"…
Keep climbing, have fun, respect the people and the places you visit! Maybe see you somewhere around!
See you FreakClimbers!
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