In September 2022, Jakob Schubert accepted Adam Ondra's invitation to go on a trip to the unique sport climbing area of Flatanger in Norway. The joint mission of this duo was nothing less than to project one of the most difficult routes in the world: Project Big. In the video below, Jakob Schubert provides impressive images and emotions from his time in Flatanger.
Adam Ondra long felt intimidated by the dimensions of the line he still intends to make Silence set up. And it was no different Jakob Schubert, when he accepted Adam Ondra's invitation. «In the first few days I was definitely overwhelmed by the length, the many difficulties and the complexity of the route ProjectBig. "
Schubert wasn't sure if he was up to such a difficult route. After two weeks of stay the situation began to change. Suddenly the feeling began to set in that it was possible to get through, even if it involved a lot of work. But how much?
Jakob Schubert plans Project Big (9c?) in Flatanger | Video
Jakob Schubert in an interview about Project Big in Flatanger
What does Project Big mean to you?
I would say Flatanger is the Yosemite of sport climbing. The quality of the rock, the potential, the number of difficult routes, it's just exceptional. It's a beautiful place with views of the fjords and the sea, the cave is huge, it's steep and has so many difficult route options; as a climber this is a place you want to return to again and again.
What makes Project Big so difficult?
The difficulty of Project Big is definitely that it's more of a strength endurance test. In other routes there is a boulder followed by a rest option. In the middle of the wall there is an almost 15 meter long piece that is relatively difficult throughout with the powerful boulder at the end. One move takes you to a trailer and from there to a bar where we are currently still falling. This is perhaps the key feature of the route. After that it's still 15 or 20 meters of climbing, but only about 8a - we're not too worried about falling out again.
What role does the mental aspect play in a project like this?
When you're so close to a project and you've tried it many times, it's not that much fun anymore; it's more the ambition and motivation that keeps you going because you really want to finish it. When you've been very close and you know you can do it, the attempts are definitely more of a mental challenge. With the no-hand rests you have small breaks in which you have time to think and to say: “You are stronger, now it could work” or “I have felt better here before”. There are a lot of mental aspects involved in a single attempt.
How do you approach a project of this magnitude?
With strategy and tactics like playing chess. Project Big sometimes feels the same way. You need a strategy, how many tries you do per day, how many rest days you have, how you warm up, how you deal with the weather issues, the friction and all those things, but then you also have to make tactical decisions on the track . In chess I have a computer to help me, but in this journey I have something almost as good as the chess computer, which is Adam Ondra.
We are both extremely motivated climbers and can talk for hours about the route, learn from each other and push each other. Sharing the beta with me saved me so much time in the beginning, but I feel like we've grown along the route together and are very close.
En route to one of the toughest sport climbing routes on the planet, the duo checked a few more boxes in this first take of Project Big together. «All I need are dry conditions, then I can hit the ground running!» – that is more than a promise from the lead climbing world champion Jakob Schubert: «It is the last project in the cave that has not yet been climbed and it is not just any project, it is one of the largest in Flatanger and should be climbed. We'll both come back and climb this route sometime, that's for sure!"
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Credits: Cover picture Alpsolut