If the Belgian professional climber Sébastien Berthe has his way, numerous difficult multi-pitch classics in the Alps are massively overrated. He calls for discussion - reactions followed immediately.
Silver vulture and Headless Children in the Rätikon, The Emperor's New Clothes in the Kaiser Mountains, End of Silence in the Berchtesgaden Alps, La Voie Petit at the Grand Capucin, Odyssey on the Eiger, Carnet D'address in Rocher du midi, Tarrago in Montserrat, Nice view at the western pinnacle and The Fly near Lauterbrunnen.
The Belgian describes these difficult and - in many cases - often traveled tours Sebastien Berthe as massively overrated in their level of difficulty.
In his opinion, the routes would have to be devalued by a complete degree in most cases, especially the most difficult pitches, i.e. the key lengths. The easier pitches are usually adequate. Strong climbers did not have to wait long to react.
Babsi Zangerl is one of the strongest climbers in the world. Together with your partner Jacopo Larcher she committed numerous difficult multi-pitch routes in Europe and in Yosemite Valley. She concludes her response to Sébastien's Instagram post with the following comment:
Other commentators, such as the young climber Connor Herson, also agree with this vote. Arnaud Petit, the first to climb the La Voie Petit route on Grand Capucin mentioned by Sébastien, agrees with the downgrading of the heaviest pitch from 8b to 8a +. In the case of the silver vulture, however, he disagrees.
Cédric Lachat speaks up
Instead of commenting on Sébastien Berthe's contribution, the Swiss professional climber Cédric Lachat published his own article in which he explains his point of view.
Devaluing a route always involves the risk of devaluing the performance of the first climbers and repeaters, even if this was not the intention. Cédric writes:
“Routes are being devalued more and more often and I'm not talking about Siebe and Sébastien here, but more generally about the climbing scene. It is important to be honest with yourself and to accept devaluation, even if it affects your own performance.
In some cases, however, it goes too far and the question arises as to what the motivation behind the devaluation is. Is it the fear of being devalued if you don't rate it 'hard' enough? Or is it even about posing as a strong climber?
Again, I am not addressing these words and questions directly to my Belgian friends with whom I have spoken openly about them. And apart from that, I'm also a person who sometimes devalues routes and expresses my own opinion transparently. To close the topic: Sometimes the discussion about the level of difficulty just goes too far.
Sébastien Berthe in an interview with Lecomte Alpinisme & Randonnée
In an interview with Lecomte, Sébastien talks about the Freyr climbing area and says that the rating in this historic area is his reference for rating routes in other areas of the world.
That might interest you
Two Belgians rush quickly and ruthlessly through the Alpine region
Last year, Sébastien Berthe and Nico Favresse climbed numerous classics in the Alpine region. In doing so, they devalued many routes - partly public, partly within the scene. And then there was the story of the Eiger, which caused displeasure. In the show BETA on Actiontalk TV we got to the bottom of the matter.
- Nico Favresse and Sébastien Berthe climb the most difficult Eiger route in one day
- This film shows Sébastien Berthe sending The Nose
- Belgians repeat fly (8c, 550m)
+ + +
Credits: Cover picture Julia Cassou