After several attempts, the Bern succeeded Alexander tube on the 21. August 2019 the 9a route The Illusionist in the Norwegian climbing area Flatanger. We talked to Alex about the difficult route and the challenges of the project.

Why did you choose the route The Illusionist as a project?
I chose the route because I would like to have an 9a from Adam in my ticklist. Since I am in Flatanger at least once in the summer, it was obvious that it would be The Illusionist. The route is tough and unique with their moves.

What was the special challenge?
The particular challenge was that I felt like I could climb it but had to deal with wet grips and weird bad conditions all the time. That cost me a lot of patience.

Alexander Pipe in The Illusionist (9a). (Image: Jon Solberg Hoyland)

How many 9a is it for you and when is 9b on the program? Which route are you going to take?
The Illusionist is my fifth 9a and I will make an 9b as soon as possible. But first there is an 9a + and I already have one, two projects in this degree that I know are feasible. I do not tell you which routes they are until I spot them.

When did you first look at The Illusionist and start designing?
The first time I looked in on my first trip to Flatanger, At the time I did not have the level to score the route. Last year I came here especially for the tour and was spoiled only with rain and temperature records. I had to go home without a significant visit. This July I came back, stronger than before, but the same spectacle took place. In the end, I had four days spread over three weeks when the route was not completely wet. It had to be a Plan B, because this year I really wanted confirmation that I had gotten better. So I went home for three weeks, worked out and moved back in mid-August. After a total of three days in the route, it worked out. Throughout the day it was extremely dry and with 40 percent humidity for me rather at the lower limit. With my dry skin, the rock felt like glass in cold air. So I waited for the day after two failed attempts. In the evening, the humidity then rose to a perfect 66 percent and I could follow the route as I have imagined the whole time.

The red dot has cost you some attempts. What was the key to success in the end?
The key to success was constantly believing that at some point the factors of fitness, skin, patience and good conditions would work together. After too many days of constantly having just one of many factors, it was hard to convince myself that I might be lucky at some point. It was mentally demanding to try something over and over, which I actually know I can.


About the 9a route The Illusionist in the Norwegian climbing area Flatanger

The strongly overhanging sport climbing route The Illusionist was from Adam Ondra set up and 2013 first. A first iteration of the route took 2014 of the Americans Dave graham, The following video shows Adam Ondra in the route.

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Credits: pictures Jon Solberg Høyland