My Shining, Beautiful, Devastating Memories From The World Cup Circuit

·1 min read

This article originally appeared on Climbing

This feature is free for 48 hours, from Tuesday, April 19, 8:00 a.m. Mountain Time until Thursday, April 21, 8:00 a.m. It was first published in the 2022 print issue of Ascent, where it appears under the title "Broken Promises."

Ascent in print and online is included with every Climbing magazine subscription--now 50% off for a limited time. Just $24 a year gets you five print issues (four Climbing, one Ascent) delivered to your door. Subscribers also receive unlimited access to over 5,000 articles on

Subscribe now: $25 for five print issues and unlimited access to paywall!

It's the day after a Lead World Cup in Briancon, France, July 2015. In the aftermath of the action, you find yourself alone on the rooftop of the apartment where you're staying. It's sunrise. It's so beautiful you could cry. You do start crying, but you're not sure if it's because you're happy or sad or both.

The sun crests the surrounding Hautes-Alpes, splitting everything into gold and shadow. It's quiet; the world is just waking up. Caducous leaves catch spindrifts of wind in the morning air. Verdigris rooftops sparkle in the encroaching light while pigeons dance on the undercurrents. In the distance, the columns of the collegial church rise up above the famous Grande Rue, a street cobbled together in 1345 as the city's central vein. You can almost smell the bread and the croissants cooling in the cafe windows. You can almost hear the laundry drying on high lines strung above the narrow, twisting avenues. Layers of life, old and new, woven into the modern world.

This is so nice, you think.

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.