The Italian Gianluca Vighetti repeats the TCT route in Gravere, claiming the title of youngest 9a climber. But is that so? Only in July did compatriot Andrea Chelleris hit the headlines with his ascent of Pure Dreaming - he is also 12 years old.

A few days before his 13th birthday, the Italian succeeded Gianluca Vighetti the ascent of the route TCT in Gravere. "I have not yet realized that I was the youngest person in the world to have made a 9a," he writes about his success on Instagram.

"I still haven't realized that I was the youngest person in the world to have made a 9a."

Gianluca Vighetti

TCT is a combination of the two routes L 'Extrema Cura (8c) and Base jump (8b +). In 2014 it was first used by Stefano Ghisolfi climbed who tried the route for four years. The first repetition took place a little later Adam Ondra - and surprisingly quickly. Ondra managed the route on sight.

Three years later laid down Alexander Megos. after: he also managed TCT onsight, making it the only 9a route in the world that has two onsight ascents. But that's not the only reason why TCT was a memorable route even before Vighetti's ascent. The three letters stand for the initials of the young talent who died tragically in 2013 Tito Claudio Traversa.

Gianluca Vighetti on a wide departure from the TCT diverter.

Who has the record?

We reported them only a few weeks ago Record message from the youngest 9a climber. It was also a 12-year-old Italian - but it was Andrea Chelleriswho made the route Pure Dreaming climbed. The question now arises as to which of the two Italian youngsters can claim the title for themselves?

World record: 12-year-old Andrea Chelleris climbs Pure Dreaming (9a)
World record? 12-year-old Andrea Chelleris climbed Pure Dreaming (9a) last July.

It's not that clear. Andrea Chelleris is six months younger than Vighetti. He climbed Pure Dreaming when he was 12 years and 4 months old. Vighetti, on the other hand, managed TCT a few days before his 13th birthday - would be over half a year older than Chelleris at the time of his 9a ascent.

However, TCT is a previously confirmed 9a, while Pure Dreaming has already been downgraded to 8c + several times - among others by Alexander Megos, who climbed both routes. In this respect, Vighetti should rightly claim the title of the youngest 9a climber.

Homage to Tito Traversa

The idea of ​​combining the two routes, which together make up the TCT line, came from Walter Vaghetti - the father of the current conqueror. It was he who referred Stefano Ghisolfi to the project in 2010.

While Ghisolfi was planning the combination, he once observed the then 11-year-old Tito Traversa on the first part of the route. "I was very impressed with his abilities," remembers Ghisolfi of his young compatriot, who was considered to be one of the greatest climbing talents.

At the age of eleven, Traversa had already mastered degrees 8b + and 8b onsight before he died in a fatal climbing accident in 2013. In the French climbing area Orpierre he fell to the ground from 25 meters and succumbed to his injuries.

Stefano Ghisolfi on the first ascent of TCT

Joy and sorrow

The fatal fall was due to the fact that his quickdraws were assembled incorrectly: instead of the loops, the carabiners were simply hooked into the rubber loops, which are supposed to prevent the carabiners from twisting. 8 out of 10 quickdraws were incorrectly installed and could not withstand the load.

Tito Traversa climbing. An example of an incorrectly assembled quickdraw (left).

In a later trial, five adults were charged with manslaughter, including the manufacturer of the rubber bands. In the end, only one instructor who was present at the climbing accident was convicted. He served two years in prison for failing to inspect the equipment.

Ironically, the route named after Tito Traversa is now linked to the record of the youngest 9a climber. The joy and sorrow of climbing are combined in the three letters TCT.

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Credits: Diego Borello