The French climber Seb Bouin crowns his successful Flatanger trip with the third ascent of Adam Ondra's Change (9b +) in the Hanhelleren Cave.

During his stay in Norwegian Flatanger effect Seb Bouin proved in an impressive way that he is currently one of the strongest climbers in the world. He repeated numerous difficult lines in the famous cave and recently opened the Mega Endurance route Nordic Marathon (130m, 9b/+). True to the motto "last go, best go", he managed just before his departure Adam Ondra's Change (9b+). It is only the third ascent of this extremely difficult route.

Seb Bouin Change Hanshelleren Cave
Seb Bouin gets the third ascent of Change (9b +) in Flatanger. Picture: Marco Müller

"I'm happy to say I didn't make any mistakes and believed I could make it to the end - and I did! I'm not normally the "last day, last try" type, but that's exactly what happened this time."

Seb Bouin

Short window of time

After Seb Bouin was able to climb the two pitches of Change individually, it was of course obvious to try the entire route. "The only problem was that I only had four days until my departure."

He didn't know if it would be enough for the heavily overhanging route. "All the climbing in the cave really took its toll on my body," says Seb Bouin. "I felt tired from the trip, but at the same time I wanted to enjoy it to the very end."

Seb Bouin Change
Almost without exception, the Hanhelleren Cave offers overhanging climbing. This also leaves its mark on a professional athlete like Seb Bouin. Photo: Marco Müller

First terrible, then excellent conditions

The Frenchman recalls that the conditions were extremely bad on the first day. It was damp and wet. “Many of the crucial holds were wet. That's why I decided not to climb and wait for the next day."

Day two offered similar conditions, but the grips weren't that damp anymore. Seb Bouin made an attempt. He made it through the first pitch, rested briefly, and then continued climbing. “I fell out at the second crux right after the first traverse. The grips were really damp, almost wet."

On the third day, Bouin felt the exertions of the day before. Nevertheless, he went up to the cave to secure his girlfriend. He noticed that the conditions were exceptionally good. After a brief deliberation, he decided to get on board.

«Thanks to the good conditions, I literally flowed through the route. It was such a big difference from the day before."

Seb Bouin

Test piece from 2012

With Change, Adam Ondra opened the first route with a difficulty level of 2012b+ in 9. It took eight years until Stefano Ghisolfi was the first to repeat the route. Like Ghisolfi, Seb Bouin used a kneepad on the third ascent of Change on August 5th. At that time, Ondra had climbed the route without it.

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Credits: Cover picture Marco Müller