After Adam Ondra and Alex Megos, the Swiss climber Alex Rohr secures the third ascent of the 9a + route La Castagne in St. Léger, France. The rock ledge below Mont Ventoux is known for its variety of difficult climbing routes.

Secured on December 1st Alex tube the third ascent of La Castagne (9a+). The first ascent of the line succeeded Adam Ondra in February 2018. A good two years later came Alex Megos, who climbed the line in the third go and suggested a slight rating correction from 9a+ to 9a/+.

Alex Rohr climbs La Castagne (9a +) in St. Leger. Image: John Thornton
Alex Rohr climbs La Castagne (9a +) in St. Léger. Picture: John Thornton

Hard boulder crux

La Castagne is around 25 meters long. The difficulties are mainly in the first part of the route, where the crux is also located: a hard boulder with about seven moves. This is followed by persistent climbing on small ledges.

The rock bar of St. Leger is just below Mont Ventoux and offers a variety of routes from 8a to very difficult. The conditions in St. Léger are usually very favorable for climbing: dry, lots of wind and perfect temperatures.

Four days with good conditions gave Alex Rohr a tight time frame for his success. Image: John Thornton
Four days with good conditions gave Alex Rohr a tight time frame for his success. Picture: John Thornton

Demanding conditions

"This time it was more or less the opposite," says Alex Rohr. During the two weeks of their climbing trip, they had four days when they couldn't climb because the rock was completely wet. It was also very hot or extremely cold for several days. This left four days to dry out the project.

"At the beginning of our trip I was pretty sure that I would climb the line as planned and that I had enough time."

Alex tube

Alex Rohr had already planned La Castagne for three days last April and made a few short attempts at the beginning of this year. "At the beginning of our trip I was pretty sure that I would climb the line as planned and that I had enough time." In the end, the weather made things pretty exciting.

Uncut by Alex Megos in La Castagne

At the last minute

One day he was simply too nervous to climb well. "On the other days I was able to give everything and scored the route at the very last opportunity, just before the weather got even worse," said Alex Rohr.

"I learned a lot from my previous projects and failures, and this time everything just fell into place."

Alex tube

The Swiss climber attributes his success in La Castagne to a large extent to his previous experiences: "I've learned a lot from my previous projects and failures, and this time everything just came together."

«I was in the flow, even if it was hard to make good attempts. I made progress - and that's all that matters and probably why this project makes me so happy."

Alex tube

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Credits: Cover picture John Thornton

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