On August 24th, the Swiss from central Switzerland got the first repetition of the Schwarz Mönch route in Gimmelwald, which Sascha Lehmann started for the first time, and finds: "Much harder than all 9a's I've done so far" - his suggestion is 9a +. As a reminder: Adam Ondra was unsuccessful on this test piece.

Modestly, as you know him, Marco Müller adds to his upgrade proposal: “I don't have a lot of experience with grade 9a +, I'm curious to see what future repeaters will find.” However, his upgrade should hardly go too high when you consider that 2018 Adam Ondra tried the route unsuccessfully and spoke of a "tough 9a + project".

Adam Ondra spoke of a tough 2018a + project in 9.

The route is an extension of the Renardo Rules 8c route and follows a blue stripe through a massive overhang. “It is crucial that you don't tire yourself too much in Renardo Rules, otherwise you don't stand a chance,” says Müller on the phone. Easier said than done; With a powerful crux over around 3 meters, Renardo Rules already requires a lot of stamina and the best resting position is not waiting at the deflector. "You can relax a bit there, but not shake it off completely."

"After a few intro moves, the key point comes with three hard tension moves, isolated it is maybe a 7c / + boulder, no idea ... In any case, after that it is less difficult but still continues to the top."

Marco Müller

Around 40 attempts

When he climbed over the diverter for the first time, it became clear to him that you can only continue here if you get the 8c foreplay behind you as efficiently as possible. A total of 15 sessions with around 40 attempts spread over this summer ultimately brought Marco the success.

He describes the extension as follows: “After a few intro moves, the key point comes with three hard tension moves, isolated it is maybe a 7c / + boulder, no idea ... In any case, after that it is less difficult but still continues to the top, can shake you no longer. ”Although he fell several times in the crux, he never lost courage, but found small optimizations with each attempt.

Sascha Lehmann on the first ascent of Schwarz Mönch last year. - Image: @editionfilidor

In 2018, Ondra was unsuccessful

The route had been in project status for a long time before Sascha Lehmann released it last year. He initially found that it could be 9a + - but then corrected it to 9a after he was able to crack the route relatively quickly. Previously, Adam Ondra tried the route during his short visit in 2018.

The grandmaster was able to onsighten an 8c with Goldfinger in Gimmelwald, but was unsuccessful with the Schwarz Mönch. “Possibly a tough 9a + project,” was Ondra's assessment as he tried the route while filming a film.

Adam Ondra in the route Renardo Rules Extension near Gimmelwald - Switzerland
Adam Ondra 2018: “Absolutely amazing last move of Renardo Rules 8c. From there, another hard boulder problem follow making it probably a hard 9a + project. " - Image Pavel Blazek

At that time, Marco Müller was also present: “We were completely surprised to find the superstar there.” He probably couldn't have imagined that three years later he was linked to exactly this route that Adam Ondra was struggling with.

We were completely surprised to find the superstar there.

Marco Müller

“But Adam didn’t invest as much time as I did”, the likable Central Swiss immediately puts into perspective, who, by the way, trained himself to be a solid 9a climber with relatively simple means. For Actiontalk TV we went to him last year and asked about his secret weapon. The result is a training series that you can participate in.

This is how Marco Müller trains at home

You can find more videos of the training series with Marco Müller here:

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Credits: Cover picture Benjamin Weber