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Grotte de Vilhonneur

  • Grade context: FR
1
FR
9b

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Grade Route

A controversial route which has been unrepeated to this day.

When it was put up in 1995 by Fred, only a handful of 9a (Action Directe, Bain de Sang, Om and Hugh) had been freed,9a+ was still a few years away, and Fred was an unknown climber on the international scene. The grading of this route, a long roof problem that can be bouldered, leading to an easier face, was met with a lot of skepticism.

Alex Huber said that Fred wasn't experienced enough to grade a route this hard. Ben Moon said that the 9a wasn't even established yet. Some said the route had been manufactured and that the holds had been filed after the ascent to make any repeat harder (a claim later debunked). Jibe Tribout explained that Fred was using very powerful and unorthodox methods but that some easier beta existed and would likely lead to a downgrade.

Yet nobody has been able to repeat Fred's ascent (which he worked for 3 months and was only witnessed by his wife/belayer but which Pete Ward and Tim Kemple from Climbing Magazine say is credible). Is it because of its manufactured reputation? Because the boulder problem is sketchy? Because the climb is in an area where there's not much else to climb?

A few well known climbers have tried the line such as Dani Andrada and Jibe Tribout but none have been able to snatched the second ascent. So go and try it...if you can!

Set by Fred Rouhling

FFA: Fred Rouhling

FA: Fred Rouhling, 1995

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