At the end of February, Carlo Traversi managed the fourth ascent of the legendary Magic Line (8c +) in Yosemite. Ron Kauk's trad test piece remained unrepeated for 22 years after its first ascent in 1996. Anyone who sees the Californian Traversi in the Riss line will understand why.

Four inspections in 26 years. This is a ratio that says a lot about a route and about the repeaters. the Magic Line is a 35 meter long trad route in the Yosemite National Park and one of the most severe crack lines in the world. After Ron Kauk (1996) Lonnie Kauk (2018) and Hazel Findlay (2019) is Carlo Traversi only the fourth person who manages to walk this extraordinary line.

Video: Carlo Traversi climbs Magic Line (8c +)

Magic Line requires special skill set

"I still don't quite understand what appeals to me about this incredibly difficult, thin crack," says Carlo Traversi. The line requires such extraordinary skills that it almost feels like a climbing discipline in its own right.

The California loves bouldering for its simplicity and sheer effort. He loves sport climbing for the strategic aspects, which involve conserving energy while remaining calm while the arms slowly succumb to the sustained exertion. And he loves trad climbing for the adventure and unimpeded access to sheer walls and majestic rock formations.

"Unlike all the other disciplines, a hard trad ascent consists of a mixture of intense physical exertion, mental focus and the ability to deal with high levels of stress over a relatively long period of time."

Carlo Traversi

"Hard Trad is all of this and none of that at the same time," says Carlo Traversi. It feels pure like bouldering, but at the same time it is complicated in terms of equipment. Like sport climbing, it requires strategy, but rarely the same type of pump. And like most trades, it's a very purposeful adventure.

"Unlike all the other disciplines, a hard trad ascent consists of a mixture of intense physical exertion, mental focus and the ability to deal with high levels of stress over a relatively long period of time."

carlo-traversi-magic-line
Aesthetic and tough: The trad route Magic Line (8c +) in Yosemite. image Christian Adam

Two kinds of perfection: mind and body

"Magic Line demanded perfection from me - both physically and mentally," says Carlo Traversi. The physical exertion was less about strength and more about maintaining stability and tension throughout.

"I tried to visualize a clear separation between my lower body and upper body and alternately maintain tension between the two to hold myself against the wall and allow part of my body to rest without slipping."

"Magic Line demanded perfection from me - both physically and mentally."

Carlo Traversi

Mentally, the perfection was characterized by the fact that he found solace in the insecurity inherent in the kicks. "It takes a lot of energy to keep telling yourself that you're not going to slide 30 meters off the wall." At the same time, that's exactly how it feels. "There is no real moment of relaxation or a sigh of relief."

The last moves before the deflector - even if they are not among the hardest he's ever made - were challenging for Traversi. He fell twice on the last train, once in 2016 and once last year. "I felt my mind give up in those moments and convinced myself to pull and push harder." After all, more power means more control. "But you can also pull away from the wall and push away from the diverter."

"Even if the fatigue increases and the stress becomes unbearable, one should just relax and move on."

Carlo Traversi

Carlo Traversi learned many lessons on the Magic Line. The most important thing was learning to relax. "Even if the fatigue increases and the stress becomes unbearable, one should just relax and move on."

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Credits: Cover picture Christian Adam

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