Jacopo Larcher secures the third ascent of the iconic Trad crack line Meltdown (8c +) in Cascade Creek in California's Yosemite Valley. After Beth Rodden's first ascent in 2008, it was a full decade before Carlo Traversi was the first to repeat the trad test piece.
On November 22 rose Jacopo Larcher through one of the most difficult trad lines in the world: Meltdown (8c +) in Yosemite Valley. he is after Beth Rodden and Carlo Traversi only the third climber who can claim an inspection of this extraordinary line for himself.
Aesthetics and difficulty go hand in hand
It's been six years since Jacopo Larcher's first attempts at Meltdown. "At the time I was surprised by the beauty of the line, but also by its difficulty," recalls the South Tyrolean.
Not only because of the thin finger cracks, but also because of the very powerful laybacking on extremely bad and glassy steps.
Video: Carlo Traversi on the first rerun of Meltdown
An inspection ahead of its time
When Beth Rodden first climbed the line in 2008, he didn't know much about trad climbing and therefore couldn't understand the importance of the route and its ascent, says Jacopo Larcher. "The route just looked so beautiful, even if it looked absolutely hopeless to me."
More trad experience in the luggage
On his most recent trip to the climbing mecca of Yosemite, Jacopo Larcher worked on the route for another seven days until success came. Fortunately, this time he immediately had much more positive feelings while projecting.
He was surprised and at the same time motivated when he was able to top-rope through Meltdown cleanly on the third day. "After that, I naively thought that the lead climb would be quick, but laying the mobile belays adds spice and definitely makes the route much more difficult."
On the fourth day of his lead attempt, Jacopo Larcher had to fight hard and dig deep into his bag of tricks to reach the deflector. Normally, the ascent on difficult trad routes usually feels very smooth.
Not so in Meltdown: "In this route I had to fight very hard and was about to fall in the upper part." Factors that made the experience of this ascent even more unforgettable for him.
Jacopo Larcher spent the month of November in Yosemite filming for a new documentary about the world's toughest trad climbs. The North Face series How Hard Is Hard? should appear in 2023.
That might interest you
- Does Connor Herson make Empath (9a +) the most difficult trad climbing route in the world?
- Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher repeat Eternal Flame (650m, 7c+) at the Trango Tower
- Video: Jacopo Larcher and his visit to the world's heaviest Trad route (Tribe)
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Credits: Cover picture Andrea Cosu