The Belgian Simon Lorenzi succeeds in the sit-start version of the legendary boulder Off the Wagon in Val Bavona, Ticino.

Off the Wagon is one of the most famous and impressive bouldering lines in the world. The boulder became famous through the film Dosage 3, in which Dave graham and Chris Sharma project the line. The first ascent succeeded neither Graham nor Sharma, but years later the Finn Nalle Hukkataival.

Since the first ascent of the standing start (8b +), i.e. standing on the famous wagon, the idea of ​​climbing the boulder with a sitting start was in the room. Another six years passed before the American Shawn Raboutou could climb this extended line. It was the first 8c + boulder in Switzerland.

Since Shawn Raboutou's first ascent, I've been obsessed with the line. And now I've said to myself that I want to finish the boulder by the end of 2021.

Simon Lorenzi

Shawn Raboutou on the first ascent of Off the Wagon sit

Simon Lorenzi began to project the seat start version as soon as he made the famous long train higher up. In the past two months, he invested two sessions in the line and fell in the same place over and over again.

Two weeks ago, on a rainy night shortly before my return trip, I discovered the key to success.

Simon Lorenzi

When one day the exit was completely wet, Lorenzi concentrated on finding an alternative solution for the key pull - with success. One tiny adjustment meant that he succeeded in the job 50% of the time. The time was ripe for the climb.

Simon Lorenzi in the famous place of the Boulder Off the Wagon with the wide train.
Simon Lorenzi in the famous place of the Boulder Off the Wagon with the wide train.

So this week I came back to Sonlerto for a session. Due to the weather, the day before yesterday was the only day you could climb.

Simon Lorenzi

On the spur of the moment, Simon sat in his car and started the nine-hour journey from Belgium on Tuesday. His hope was fully on Wednesday. At 15.00 p.m. he started the first attempts - but had to give up after three hours and 15 attempts.

I fell on the same bad move over and over again. It drove me completely crazy and I was physically exhausted.

Simon Lorenzi
The sitting start increases the grade from 8b + to 8c +.
The sitting start increases the grade from 8b + to 8c +.

So his last hope was to take an extended break, which is why he went to the Boulder Road Kill, the Dave Graham and Clément Lechaptois projected. After this change of scenery, the time had come again for the last attempts in Off the Wagon. But the first attempts were again unsuccessful.

After one of the attempts, I decided not to really take a break to get the feeling of the key point.

Simon Lorenzi

This strategy has paid off. Simon Lorenzi succeeds in inspecting the seated start version of Off the Wagon, thereby fulfilling a long-cherished wish.

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Credits: Cover picture Oriane Tollebeek