The Belgian repeats the line that Dave McLeod first started in 2014 on the north face of the Cima Ovest di Lavaredo. He connected the three hardest pitches and climbed 50 meters at a time through the large roof. He devalued the grade after his inspection.
A report by Siebe Vanhee
The large roof of the Cima Ovest on the Three Peaks is simply breathtaking! The Huber routes Bellavista and Panaroma made me dream of climbing this roof for years. Together with Pete Low, I wanted to tackle the Project Fear line, which was opened by Dave MacLeod in 2014. It goes pretty straight through the right part of the roof. Dave combined the Bauer route, an old aid route, with the key length of Panaroma (8c) by adding three pitches (6c, 7b +, 8a +)
Pete Low and I tried out the key lengths for two days. However, Pete then had to give up - an old injury bothered him. We were both disappointed, but it was the smartest decision. That said, Pete was excited that I was going to try climbing Project Fear - but not the normal way! He had the idea of connecting all the pitches that go through the roof in a giant 50-meter push. That means: to combine Dave MacLeods 7b +, 8a + and the 8c-length of Panorama!
I got on with Pete's vision and the support of the local Dolomite climber Nico Cad. It was freezing cold and clouds could be seen in the distance, which gave the venture an even more adventurous setting. When I arrived at the beginning of the roof, I set off with a lot of rope. The connection of the 7b + with the 8a + felt good. At the beginning of the 8c there is a good resting point where I was able to recover pretty well. I went on and came to the first key point where my foot slipped.
I had super cold feet and was probably too nervous. I returned to the stand, rested for 15 minutes, and got back in. This time I felt well warmed up, had warm feet and thought I could do it! The first crux was successful and I started the second crux pretty solidly. When I tried to grab the relieving grip on the edge of the roof, I suddenly lost my grip and slipped again.
Unbelievable ... I was so close! Devastated, I returned to the stand, where I rested for another hour before making my final attempt. Nico was the best support, he waited patiently in the cold. I was convinced that I would make it, I still had some energy in my arms. For the third time I hung at the rest area in front of the 8c part and looked up at the two key points in the roof. I got on completely recovered.
Arrived at the edge of the roof I gave everything and this time packed the last train over the roof! My cries of joy were answered by a large audience in the small hut below the Cima Ovest. Three hours and a little snowfall later we were on the summit.
After the 50 meter link of the roof lengths, I would like to express my opinion on the degree of this route: MacLeods 8a + felt more like 8a and the 8c from Panorama more like 8b. I don't want to underestimate the impressive first ascents of both MacLeod and the Huber brothers. I can understand how intimidating a first ascent on this roof is. Thank you everyone for the work and the vision. For the 50 meter link I would consider grade 8b + or 8c. Let's wait for a second inspection to make a final assessment.
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Credits: Cover picture Klaas Willems