He did it, and he did it live! Austrian Jakob Schubert sent Adam Ondra’s Project Big in Flatanger on September 20, and it was in front of a live audience of 4,000 viewers on his YouTube Channel.
Bolted in 2013 by Adam Ondra at about the same time he was working on Silence, his famous 5.15d route and the hardest route in the world to this date, Project Big was placed on the most impossible-looking face of the cave. Together with Adam, Jakob started working on the route last year, and he spent around two months in the Norwegian Cave until he managed to send it.
Aged 32, Schubert is a well-seasoned competition and outdoor climber who is infamous for his one-trip sends and downgrading of routes. With this project, one of his hardest to date, he struggled on multiple visits, until this last week when he sent Project Big on his sixth attempt over the course of two months.
Project Big is a mega route that starts with a 5.11d climb which Jakob cruised through. In order to reduce rope drag he changed the ropes at the end of the section, before getting into a V10/11 boulder problem right in the middle of the wall. At this point, Jakob was already super pumped and had to face the crux move – a hard throw from a sloper to a crimp, followed by another 20-meter 5.13 climb sprinkled with hard moves.
Schubert’s mental battle happened right after sticking the crux move, as it was raining, and he became afraid of falling due to the slippery rock. It was no walk in the park but he seemed to have it all in control. There were a few times when things went almost wrong, like the breaking of a good handhold But from which he managed to recover and remain on the wall.
“So nervous!” he said while reaching the top anchors.
Schubert’s self-talk surely was a good strategy to get over the mind-melting moments on the climb, as the fear of blowing it was omnipresent and the Norwegian weather surely didn’t work in his favor!
Discussing the grade since on Instagram, he’s said that Perfecto Mundo 9b+ “felt way easier”, one of his reference points. With a number of other factors such as time spent on the route, he feels like it’s correct to propose 9c. If confirmed this would therefore make it the third of the grade along with Silence and DNA.
Now with this climb off his tick list, Schubert will surely have a much stronger mindset for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and who knows, maybe until then he’ll give another shot at Seb Bouin’s DNA in Verdon.
Featured image: @jakob.schubert