The Frenchman Sébastien Bouin is currently concentrating on the most difficult climbing project of his career: He wants to freely climb the sport climbing route "Project DNA". How difficult is the route? Can it be climbed? An overview.

Seb Bouin combines over fifty routes with levels of difficulty 9a to 9b / + on his route account. A respectable number. This makes him one of the strongest climbers in the world. In addition to repeating existing climbing routes, the Frenchman has made it his mission to set up impressive and difficult lines.

His latest creation is in the Verdon Gorge, more precisely in La Ramirole. The line is what he called the DNA Project. Bouin set up the route two years ago and planned it for around three months last year in order to find the correct beta and decipher the individual trains.

Two lanes on the road in the New Year

For Sébastien Bouin, the focus is clearly on the DNA Project. But at the same time, he has been traveling regularly to Céüse since early summer to plan the Bibliography route (9c). It's kind of a side project of the French.

Bibliography is absolutely not my style, it is far too finger-heavy. At the beginning I was rather hesitant to even get on the route.

The initial reluctance and uncertainty subsided very quickly and, to his surprise, the individual features of the bibliography were deciphered relatively quickly. His next goal was: to connect individual sections.

The season started less well in his main project, the DNA Project. The motivation was greater than ever, but Seb received a slap in the face on the first attempts of the year. He could no longer climb the individual trains of the key point. “It was clear to me that I had to train harder, climb better and indulge in the magic of 'Ramirole',” Bouin said in mid-July.

The heavily overhanging route at La Ramirole (Photo Raphael Fourau)
The heavily overhanging Route DNA Project near La Ramirole, Verdon (Photo Raphael Fourau)

DNA Projekt is definitely the most beautiful route I have ever planned - a kingline!

Seb Bouin

A month later things were looking better. The individual pieces of the puzzle came back together and Bouin's motivation was back.

How difficult is the Route DNA Project?

When Sébastien Bouin first spoke publicly about his main goal of the season, the question of the difficulty quickly arose. 9c? 9c +? Easier than 9c?

The route begins with a first section in the 8c + area, which Seb still cannot climb in one go. The middle part of the route consists of two consecutive bouldering problems (Fb 8a + and 8a + / b). To top it off, the DNA Project awaits in the last part with an 8c + sport climbing passage that extends over five bolts. How difficult the entire route is cannot be conclusively determined as long as the route has not been freely climbed - that much is already clear.

The key part of the route is awesome. Each section is incredibly powerful and aesthetic.

Officially, Bouin's says that the route is in area 9c. And when you consider that he projects Bibliography (9c) and the DNA Project in parallel and says that he has never tried a more difficult route than the DNA Project, the matter becomes a little more concrete. But let's leave it at speculation for the moment and enjoy Bouin's flying lessons in his “side project” bibliography (9c).

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Credits: Cover picture Seb Bouin