James Pearson unlocks Flow on the world’s hardest trad line

flow bon voyage trad climbing james pearson

James Pearson has perfected his precise climbing technique and body control over decades. However, fatherhood has recently helped him embrace a new skill, Flow. Letting go of worries about control or failure and climbing for his own enjoyment was crucial in closing Bon Voyage, a two-year project considered to be possibly the world’s hardest trad route.

Flow is a familiar concept for many climbers. This is a way to focus, relax, and unwind after work and on the weekends. It is wrapped in the unspoken passion that bonds our community. For others, Flow is the pinnacle of mental performance, where your trained body and mind take over. Then you excel without conscious thought, the weight of performance, or the concern of failure.

James has been well-acquainted with the theory of Flow. But studying psychology and implementing a practice that requires you to turn off your mind and set fears or control aside is a different matter. In an almost contradicting turn of events, the time constraints and priority shift of fatherhood allowed James to unlock his Flow.

Going into parenthood, James’s concern was having the ability to balance climbing performance with giving his kids the attention he intended. As he and Caroline raised their first child, the weight from exhaustion and injury piled up. And James began to turn his back on his climbing goals to pursue the dream of being a great father.

climbing flow

James Pearson unlocked the flow on Bon voyage !

However, letting go of these athletic expectations brought a new light to his climbing. As he and Caroline began to adapt to a new lifestyle, James went into his first hard project underprepared. And without expectations ! This lack of pressure might have been the final ingredient needed to understand how to fully let go, savor the process. And simply enjoy time out climbing.

Since this first experience, James Pearson has climbed some of his hardest routes. Including Bon Voyage, possibly the world’s hardest trad climb. Now he is taking us along on his journey to tap into Flow and balance the joy of climbing with parenthood.

Photos and video by Raphaël Fourau


bon voyage james pearson climbing

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