The Swiss professional climber Alex Rohr manages the free ascent of the first pitch of the Flatanger Route Change (9a+/b). This personal report provides insight into the process of the inspection.
A personal report by Alex Rohr
On August 12, 2022 I climbed the first pitch of Change (9a+/9b) climbed successfully. I tried the route for the first time in 2019 right after the success in Illusionist (9a), but injured my shoulder on the key move. Further project planning was out of the question. came later Covid and I didn't make it back to Flatanger. This July things looked different and I returned to the Hanhelleren Grotto to climb the first pitch of Change.
This turned out to be extremely difficult as the weather was extremely bad and many holds in the route were constantly wet. The conditions in general were rather bad. It was a constant struggle against the weather extremes. Every morning I warmed up and then had to boulder the whole route to dry the holds with paper and aluminum foil.
It was anything but easy for my head, since valuable energy was lost that I would have needed later for the right experiments. In addition, it was not possible to completely dry out all the holds. Rather than fret about the conditions, I tried to take it as a challenge because, despite the adverse conditions, I made steady progress on the route.
And suddenly I was in the flow
However, I imagined day X differently. I got into the cave and while warming up I realized that the conditions were a lot worse than the day before. It had zero wind and was quite humid. I also felt a bit tired from the three very good attempts the day before. I gave it a try anyway and quickly realized it was the best so far. The feeling was good. After that the sun came in and I had to wait five hours because otherwise it would have been way too warm.
I waited until the sun was out of the cave and then started warming up again. When I climbed an 8a I noticed that it was extremely warm and humid and the rock didn't feel good. Still, I decided to try my luck and give it a try. I started and quickly forgot that I was actually climbing. I literally flew up the route and had a brief moment of clarity as I caught the train that kept throwing me.
I have noticed that I feel extremely much better. In the next moment the train was already made. After that, my head dove back into that state, with everything passing me by. Nothing could stop me. Also no foot slips and wet grips in the last 7C boulder. I just didn't stop climbing and was on my way to the beach. It was finally done.
Via Route Change P1 (9a+/b)
The route consists of an 8b route as an intro, which is followed directly by a boulder in the 8B/8B+ area. A few easier moves follow, finishing with a 7C boulder. The last quarter of the route is not that difficult anymore. The total length of the first pitch is 25 to 30 meters in a steep overhang while the crux is a roof dihedral.
+ + +
Credits: John Thornton