The Austrian Jakob Schubert shows no signs of fatigue and that despite a strenuous competition season, including participation in the Olympics. During his most recent climbing trip to the deep-water soloing paradise Mallorca, he managed one of the most difficult routes of its kind: Alasha. In an interview, Schubert reveals what the ascent means to him and how he approached the route.
Jakob Schubert in an interview
Congratulations Jacob on the first iteration of Alasha. How was it?
It was a great experience! I've only been to Mallorca once, on vacation with my girlfriend, and I only climbed a 7c. So this is my first correct one Deep water solo trip and it's just awesome here. To give it your all on the rocks high above the water is very exciting.
And what do you say to Alasha, the route that you could climb?
What a line, what a route! The rock quality is just amazing and the bouldering problem has some of the coolest holds! The route begins with 10 meters of climbing in the seventh French degree before it passes into the key point. This point is located at a height of around 15 meters and is in area 8a (Fontainebleau scale). Knowing that no one has been able to repeat the route since the first ascent by Chris Sharma six years ago has of course given the whole thing the necessary pinch of salt.
How did you go about planning the route?
When we arrived I wanted mine Alasha Just take a look, it was said that the climbing season in the north of the island ends earlier than down in the south., After a first session at cozy spots like Cala Varques, we went to Soller, where we were lucky enough to take a boat tour Sebastian from Rock and Water Mallorca. He showed us spots, which gave us a good impression of the north coast.
You haven't been to the island long. It feels like the ascent came quickly.
Yes, I climbed twice to the key point from below before I looked at the trains from the rope and tried them out. I was lucky that Jernej Kruder there was. He knew all the sequences and shared his solution with me. On the next, fourth attempt, I was able to climb Alasha.
Jernej had already tried Alasha after his repetition of 'Es Pontas', how far is he from the ascent of the route?
His attempt before my ascent was very close. I hope that the conditions stay the same so that he can climb Alasha too.
What do you think of Alasha's difficulty level?
If I remember correctly, it has Chris Sharma never a rating for Alasha or Es Pontas but rather compared the process to some of his toughest sport climbing tours and thus levels of difficulty got into the media. Most of all, I think the sport climbing grades are not ideal for free solo climbing. Especially in the case of the very high and difficult routes where more factors come into play than just the ability to climb difficult. Even if you can look at some sections of a DWS route on a rope, the whole process is very different from classic sport climbing. With normal sport climbing routes you have all the options to rehearse movements and sequences countless times without ever having to accept long falls.
I can say that during the ascent of Alasha I had the physical impression of climbing a route in the 8c + area. If you include factors like commitment and fear, I think the grade is 9a. But there is something else at the center of an ascent of such a line. If you just want to climb difficult, you go somewhere else. After this year's competition season with the Olympic Games and at the world championships, I felt like going on adventures and experiences outside in nature. I have plenty of that here.
Video of the first ascent of Alasha by Chris Sharma
Did you try the Es Pontas route too?
Yes, I've already invested a few sessions in the route. The spot and the line are as breathtaking as the videos you can find on the internet show. I feel good on the route, but I haven't made it to the dynamo yet.
What do you have planned for the rest of your stay?
I would like to climb routes like Hupolup Kempf in Cala Sa Nau and some new lines near Soller and of course complete the largest project, Es Pontas.
That might interest you
- Es Pontas - Most spectacular deep water soloing route
- Deep Water Soloing: Climbing on Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland
- Deep water soloing in winter
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Credits: Cover picture Sebastian Marko / Alpsolut