The British top climber James Pearson manages the first repetition of what is probably the most difficult trad route in the world: Tribe in the Italian crack climbing Mecca Cadarese.

Already toying 10 years ago James Pearson - like many others - with the line in the climbing area Cadarese. Although it would have been easy to take a look at the route in detail using a static rope, James Pearson did not dare to take the line.

Deep down inside I probably thought the line was absolutely impossible, like so many other dream lines I've seen over the years.

James Pearson

Fortunately, the South Tyrolean Jacopo Larcher believed in the line that became the longest project of his life. More than seven years ago, Jacopo got on the route for the first time and began to work on the individual moves and to find the right placements of the trad gear. Until shortly before the first ascent, he did not know whether the route was really climbable.

James Pearson on arrival at the Cadarese Trad climbing area. (Photo Tristan Hobson / Wild Country)
James Pearson on arrival at the Cadarese Trad climbing area. (Photo Tristan Hobson / Wild Country)

Aroused desire for repetition

A little more than a year after the first ascent of the route, it is now British James Pearson who managed to do the first repetition of the route Tribe .

I followed Jacopo's journey with interest because I was interested in whether the route was even possible and whether he had enough stamina to believe in the first ascent long enough. To walk a route for the first time is super difficult, much more difficult than repeating a route, because there are many uncertainty factors at play.

James Pearson on the first ascent of the Route Tribe

When Jacopo successfully climbed the route, it was clear to James Pearson that he wanted to try Tribe. But the birth of his son did not allow him to invest enough time and energy in such a difficult route. Until recently.

James Pearson on the red point ascent of Tribe.
James Pearson on the red point ascent of Tribe. (Photo Caroline Ciavaldini)

Tribe spotted accompanied by wife and child

James Pearson drove with Ms. and child to the Italian climbing area Cadares to finally tackle Tribe. During the first day in the area, James was only able to work on the trains for an hour and a half because the weather was bad and the route was almost always wet.

At the end of the day, the route was partly dry and I was able to try a few moves until the water pushed again.

James Pearson

When the weather improved, James started the first attempts and almost cracked the route on the seventh attempt. But this time too he could not crack the last boulder and fell into the rope. Again a bad weather front announced itself and the Cadarese trip was coming to an end.

I actually gave up hope and that was probably the key to success and took the pressure off me. I was finally able to fully concentrate on climbing.

James Pearson

Tribe probably has the toughest series of heavy moves on a trad route

On the afternoon of October 21, 2020, James Pearson managed the second red point ascent of the Trad Route Tribe. Like Jacopo James does not comment specifically on the difficulty of the route, but says:

In Tribe, I definitely did the toughest series of heavy moves in a trad route. But what makes the line so special is its purity. No bolts, no Sika, no chipped handles. Tribe is simply a tough line with fantastic handles and a few perfect hedging points.

James Pearson

More contenders in Cadarese

Not only James Pearson has been to the Italian trad mecca Cadarese in the recent past. Even the Slovenian Jernej Kruder, who secured James Pearson on the route, Tribe regularly projects. We are curious to see if and when Jernej can score the route. In contrast to James Pearson, he is not a very experienced trad and crack climber. As an active competitive athlete, he solves the final boulder quite differently than James Pearson and Jacopo Larcher: dynamically!

James Pearson inspecting Tribe

That might interest you

Rise: The film about the first ascent of Tribe by Jacopo Larcher

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Credits: Cover picture Tristan Hobson / Wild Country