A few days after New Year’s Eve, German climber Lasse von Freier finished projecting on the famous Swiss boulder Off the Wagon (sit start) 8C+.
Lasse has been working on this boulder since 2019, when he sent its standing start variation, graded as an 8B+.
Off the Wagon is located in Val Bavona, in the region of Ticino, an area known as Magic Forest, famous for its elusive boulders that were discovered with the help of Dave “The Wizard” Graham.
The boulder has been known since it was featured in Sender’s Film documentary Dosage III in 2005. Back then, it was shown as one of Dave’s projects, and it stood like that until 2012, when Nalle Hukkataival managed to make the first ascent of the 8B+ variant, which is, believe it or not, off an old trailer placed underneath the boulder.
The first ascent of the sit start/low start of the route was made in 2018 by Shawn Raboutou, who, more or less out of a joke, tried to work the line from the bottom. On November 27, 2018, Shawn sent the sit start variation of this line, grading it as an 8C+. By climbing this line, Off The Wagon (low start) became the hardest boulder in Switzerland and one of the hardest in the world.
There have been many attempts on Off The Wagon, from Dave Graham to Chris Sharma and Nalle Hukkataival, until the perfect beta was found. In truth, Sharma was the first to start solving the crux. The crux is the second move of the start, and it’s a dead point campus crossover to a shallow right-hand pocket. From this point, the problem goes along a horizontal crack to a right-hand arete into an easygoing outro sequence.
Lasse had a “rather demoralizing” start to his trip, as he said on his Instagram post. He broke an important foothold on his second try, and it took him a whole day to find another beta that would make the line climbable.
Fortunately, it took him only three days to tick this boulder off his list once and for all.
Off the Wagon is one of the most climbed 8C+ boulders in the world, having been sent eleven times. Among the ones on the list, we can find Jimmy Webb, Giuliano Cameroni, and Daniel Woods.
Featured image: @lasse_von_freier