The exceptional athlete Jacopo Larcher once again made headlines last weekend. On Friday 22. March 2019 he succeeded in the first ascent of his long-term project in Cadarese, Italy. On the Trad climbing route "Tribe“It is rumored to be the toughest trad route in the world. LACRUX has with Jacopo talked about his historical ascent.
Interview with Jacopo Larcher
Congratulations on the visit! How do you feel?
I'm really glad to finally have scored the route. It really is a salvation, I have invested so much time, without knowing if the route is even climbable for me. It was certainly one of the best moments! It was also fascinating to see me in the route and at the Tradklettern could develop in the last few years.
You said on social media that you had never worked on a route for so long and climbed such a difficult route. The big question that everyone asks themselves: How hard do you rate the route?
I decided not to rate the route. I have tried the route so many times and the first time I was able to decrypt the top two weeks ago. If you project a route for so long, then the body gets used to the stresses, remembering the movement sequences. Making an adequate assessment is therefore difficult for me.
Never in my life have I planned a route for such a long time and never climbed such a difficult route.Jacopo Larcher on the Tradroute Tribe in Cadarese
In addition, I generally think that not everything has to be evaluated. For me, the route was hugely important, the line so impressive and the process so intriguing that the rating is secondary to me.
To commit the route Tribe in Cadarese and to get an idea of the significance of the commission, the recent achievements of Jacopo in the years 2017 and 2018 must be mentioned.
First ascent of Gondo crack (8c / R) - Cippo, Switzerland
Inspection of La Rambla (9a +) - Siurana, Spain
Second redpoint ascent of Magic Mushroom (28 SL, 8b +) - El Capitan, Yosemite Valley (USA)
Second commission of Odyssey (8a +) - Eiger, Switzerland
Inspection of The Path (5.14a R) - Lake Louise, Canada
When did the odyssey, as you once called it, begin with Route Tribe?
The whole story started six years ago, when I first came to Cadarese and a buddy showed me the route more for fun. I cleaned her and she felt pretty impossible. However, every now and then, after a day of climbing, I used to boulder a bit.
"In 2017 I climbed La Rambla (9a +) and Gondo Crack (8c / R) and then went back to Cadarese several times to seriously plan the Route Tribe."
In Toprope, I have been able to climb the route to the upper key location without laying the mobile backups. But I never managed the upper key position. At some point it became very warm and I had to wait for the summer months, until I returned in the fall. In the fall, the conditions were still not optimal, so I could only work on the route for a few days. After that I drove to Yosemite and already another year had passed.
"My plan was actually to return in spring 2018, but an injury kept me off the route again."
In autumn 2018 finally came the time, in which I could invest a lot of time in the route. The upper position was still denied to me, even if it somehow felt possible. That's why I decided to finally try a real attempt at advancement. The 2018 quickly brought winter and so I had to say goodbye to the route again without a redpoint ascent. However, the motivation was very high and so during my winter training I concentrated completely on the Route Tribe.
Fortunately, conditions in 2019 were relatively good early on, so I often went to Cadarese. At the beginning of February I made my way to the upper key position of the route for the first time, which of course gave me a great boost in motivation. That was an important moment. Nevertheless, I still felt pretty far from a red dot attempt.
When did the moment come when you knew that the route was climbable for you?
I was really sure only two weeks ago, because until two weeks ago, I could never climb the upper key position. That was also the crazy thing about this project. I had to keep up the motivation, though I could never decipher a central location on the Route Tribe.
When I was finally able to climb the upper key position two weeks ago, I knew I could score the route. I would not have thought that I only need two weeks to complete the ascent.
Can you briefly describe the route?
Tribe is an overhanging edge that looks like Gritstone climbing. The first part is relatively easy, a bit wobbly climbing, so 7a / 7a +, but bad insurance. A first mobile backup can only be placed 5 meters from the ground. Then you climb to a roof with a no-hand rest, where a bomb-proof interim backup can be placed.
Then the route begins with a first bouldering, classic fridge climbing. After that, you go from an underhand grip to a trailer, which is a rather insecure move and when you hit it often happens that the leg is behind the rope and you fall down headfirst. This is of course very uncomfortable, but fortunately not dangerous.
But if you catch the trailer, put the last two fuses and climb to the right to get a good grip on which to recover. Then the upper key point begins, which requires a lot of body tension and where you have to set your left foot high.
"For one train I did diligent stretching exercises all winter."Jacopo Larcher
Now it's a bit dynamic from a small two-finger grip to a relatively good grip. If you hold this, the upper key position is overcome and you can lay two bad safeguards. Then it goes on a small band in a simpler terrain and a 7b-crack to the stand.
After the project always comes the big question: whats next? What's 2019 on Jacopo Larcher?
A lot of. I do not want to rush back into a long-term project, but climb more alpine multi-pitch routes. I'm going with you in May Babsi again into Yosemite Valley and in June with my sponsor The North Face to Peru. In September, I drive to the border region of India / Pakistan, with the goal of a big-wall first ascent.
Thank you, Jacopo, for the interview!
Video about the phase of projecting the route tribe in Cadarese
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Credits: Cover Picture Clayton Boyd / The North Face