World’s Hardest Sport Climb? Seb Bouin Thinks His New Route Cuts It

Veteran 5.15 climber Seb Bouin holds a handful of unrepeated first ascents 5.15b and tougher. After some scrutiny, he thinks his new route in France is equal to the toughest sport climb on the planet.

Seb Bouin isn’t any stranger to the “onerous onerous.” Amongst his 20-plus 5.15 redpoints, many are first ascents. Amongst these, a number of have gone unrepeated for years.

Now, the French climber thinks he authored a route as onerous as any bolted climb anyplace on earth. “DNA,” 5.15d/9c took Bouin 150 days of labor over three years. He estimates he tried the route 250 occasions — by comparability, Alexander Megos’ “Bibliographie,” 5.15c/9b+, required 40 days of labor.

When he lastly clipped the chains in early Might, he might hardly consider it.

“After I received to the highest of the final onerous half, I didn’t fairly perceive, I had so many doubts, I used to be so afraid of the final strikes for worry of falling,” Bouin wrote. “[Then] I used to be there, the DNA undertaking was executed. I spent a lot time doing the identical strikes, falling dozens and dozens of occasions in the identical place. It’s nonetheless onerous to understand.”

‘DNA’ of the World’s Hardest Climbing

“DNA” takes a steep line of sparse holds instantly out of the large La Ramirole cave above the Verdon Gorge in France. To climb it, you’ll wish to ensure you’ve warmed up — the route kicks off with 5 bolts of 5.14b terrain. After that, hopeful repeaters will launch right into a V11 boulder downside that Bouin referred to as bodily, low-percentage, and “random.”

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The second crux is finicky, requiring good friction. It clocks in at V12. For those who’re nonetheless on, cop a relaxation and preserve it collectively on a last 5.14c headwall.

Bouin rests earlier than the “DNA” headwall; (Picture/Drapella)

Cautious Grade Evaluation

If Bouin’s grade appears audacious, his intent in issuing it was the other. The 29-year-old thought of a number of parameters in assigning “DNA” the world’s hardest present grade, placing it on par with Adam Ondra’s “Silence” (5.15d).

“That is the large query,” he mentioned, referring to the numerical issue. “There are two doable eventualities, [5.15c or 5.15d]. However earlier than I resolve, I’m going to weigh the professionals and cons to have the clearest thoughts. I’ll take totally different parameters to attempt to be as correct as doable: comparisons with different routes, time spent, climbing fashion, and many others.”

In Bouin’s evaluation, he considers his different 5.15c ascents. He accounts for his shorter work periods on totally different routes like “Bibliographie” and asserts that a lot of his personal 5.15 strains stay unrepeated. “La côte d’usure,” 5.15a, has sat silent since 2018; “La rage d’Adam,” 5.15b/c, has seen no ascents since Bouin’s in 2019.

He additionally regards his climbing fashion. The steep, bodily climbing at La Ramirole, he says, fits him higher than small holds between lengthy reaches on the extra vertical cliffs of Céüse — the house of “Bibliographie.” Due to this fact, he causes, the lengthy work session signifies “DNA” may very well be considerably tougher.

Bouin Opens the Door: 5.15d or Not?

In the long run, Bouin performs the climbing advocate first. Admitting that he left himself and the route open to the potential of a downgrade, he’s extra concerned with discovering out what others assume than claiming the “world’s hardest” title.

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“[5.15d] is my ‘proposition’ for ‘DNA,’ which now wants different climbers to provide their consensus — to both affirm or alter. Our sport is gorgeous, we don’t want judges, we’re the judges. It’s lovely, however on the identical time fairly onerous in this type of scenario, on the very innovative.”

“That’s why I might love to ask the world’s high climbers to come back and provides DNA a go.”

Learn Bouin’s full ascent report, together with climate circumstances, techniques, and extra, at Black Diamond’s web site.

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