Austrian climber Jakob Schubert celebrated Christmas early, claiming the fifth ascent of 9A boulder Alphane on December 21st.
Located in the woods of Chironico, Switzerland, Alphane is a 20-move boulder problem and one of the hardest test pieces in Europe and in the world. First climbed by Shawn Raboutou in 2022, this boulder has seen only a handful of climbers send it, all of them in the same year.
Before Jakob, the last climber who got to the top hold of Alphane was Simon Lorenzi one year earlier, on December 15th.
First discovered by Dave Graham in the early 2000s, this boulder problem stood unsent for over twenty years. The problem is described as powerful and technical. Climbing it takes you through a series of transitions over various styles of climbing, including brute force, crimps, and technical moves.
The line starts with power crimps, followed by open hand positions and sketchy drop-knees and heel hooks, ending with a couple of 7C+ moves. According to the first ascensionist, Shawn Raboutou, the individual moves don’t represent the major issue, but linking them is where Alphane gets really tricky.
It’s only natural for a route of this complexity to come with its own amount of controversy. Will Bosi, the third ascensionist of Alphane, described it as a soft 9A. He described the boulder as being easier than Honey Badger, an 8C+ route he previously climbed.
The end of 2023 didn’t only bring Jakob his first ascent of a 9A but also a lot of other first achievements, such as getting the first ascent of Project B.I.G 9c. On top of that, he became the first male athlete to qualify for the Paris Olympics after winning gold at the Men’s Combined Boulder and Lead in Bern at the IFSC World Championships.
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