After compatriot Cédric Lachat, the Swiss Alex Rohr gets the second repetition of Retour Gagnant (9a) in St. Léger. Already in the third session he managed to climb the line opened by Adam Ondra in 2018.

For his short trip to St. Leger had himself Alex tube actually made another difficult line: Super Crackinette (9a+). Since the ascent did not work out at all, the Swiss professional climber tried his motivation in Return Winner (9a) again - with success.

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Alex Rohr in Retour Gagnant. picture John Thornton Photography

dealing with frustration

His short trip to St. Léger got off to a promising start. Within a short time, Alex Rohr made it to the last move in his project. But with every attempt that ended just short of the deflector, the frustration grew. "At some point I decided to just do a lot of other climbing," says the Swiss. However, this strategy did not bring him the peace he wanted. A new challenge was needed.

"Sometimes I need the challenge of not being 100 percent sure if I can make a route."

Alex tube

The fact that Retour Gagnant (9a) demanded a lot from second climber Cédric Lachat inspired him with respect, but at the same time motivated him, says Alex Rohr. "Sometimes I need the challenge of not being 100 percent sure if I can make a route."

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Alex Rohr: "Retour Gagnant is sustained and small-handed, which is exactly what I like." Image: John Thornton Photography

High lying factor

While he was still taking a closer look at the route, he realized that the test piece from Adam Ondra very good in terms of style. “The tour is relatively long, with the first and more difficult half having to be climbed without resting. Retour Gagnant is persistent and small, which is exactly what I like,” says Alex Rohr.

“The tour is relatively long, with the first and more difficult half having to be climbed without resting. Retour Gagnant is sustained and small, which is what I like.”

Alex tube

The most challenging of the route is the 8a+ boulder at the beginning, with the Retour Gagnant Eagle-4 Splits. After about ten meters the terrain flattens out. But the grips are worse and are further apart. But that suits him very well, says Alex Rohr. "You have one drop knee after the other and wide block trains."

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A successful ascent begins on the ground: Alex Rohr preparing for Retour Gagnant. picture John Thornton Photography

mental preparation

When he wanted to make a first serious attempt, it was initially very cold and dry. The next day warm and humid. So he waited all day for the cooling shadow to fall across the line. "Then I gave it a try and was able to climb it."

According to Alex Rohr, the preparations began much earlier. “As I waited all day for the best conditions, I went over and over the route in my head, move by move. That's how I knew later that I was ready and in the mood to give a tough go."

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Credits: Cover picture John Thornton Photography

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