In the last weekend of October, more precisely on the 28th, Tyrolian powerhouse Babsi Zangerl made the fourth repeat and in the same time, the second female ascent of Meltdown (8c+), one of Yosemite’s hardest single-pitch trad lines.
Established in 2008 by Beth Rodden, Meltdown is a 19-meter route involving intense crack skills and crazy balance due to the slippery foot holds. Featured in the film Dosage V from Big Up Productions, Jacopo Larcher, the third ascentionist of the route, called it “way ahead of its time”.
Teaming with German climber Lara Neumeier, Babsi managed the fourth ascend of this iconic line that slayed many strong climbers such as Ron Kauk and Tommy Caldwell.
Zangerl started inspecting the route in 2016 while she was taking a break from big walling but finally managed to clip the chains seven years later after working on some other great projects such as Greenspit (8b) in the Valle dell’Orco, Italy or the infamous Lurking Fear (8a+) in Yosemite.
She described the route as the hardest trad line she’s ever climbed, and it was more of a mental battle rather than a physical one. The mental factor came to action as Babsi had to reduce the protection used to the bare minimum in order to save energy for the crux crack. Also, the foot holds were at best awful, with her stating that her chances to stay on these mini holds were less than 50%, and she ultimately slipped multiple times.
Meltdown was seconded by Carlo Traversi in 2019, followed by Jacopo Larcher in 2022. Fifteen years after Beth’s FA, Babsi Zangerl managed to achieve the second female ascent of this test-piece, confirming that Rodden’s line is still a killer route!
Featured image: @blackdiamond/📸:@neilson.ben