One of the most influential climbers of our generation, and part of the crack climbing duo Wide Boyz, Pete Whittaker established the first ascent of one of his hardest routes – Crown Royale (9a) in October this year.
This may not sound much, but considering the length and complexity of the line, Crown Royale might be one of the hardest crack climbs in the world.
Located on the Profilveggen Wall in Jøssingfjord, Norway, Crown is close to Nico Favresse’s The Recovery Drink (8c+), one of the climbs that offered Pete a baseline for grading his route. Pete was the third ascensionist of Recovery in 2019 after spending a lot of time projecting.
Crown Royale consists of two sections previously worked on by Whittaker, the upper section, Eigerdosis (8c) which he sent in September, and Crown Duel (8b+), the lower portion, which was first ascended in 2019.
Sending Crown Royale was a long process, as Pete described it, although he managed to redpoint it after just three attempts. Figuring out the whole route and understanding each section individually took him over thirty sessions over four years to successfully clip the chains.
Both Eigerdosis and Crown Duel are considerably hard routes, but Whittaker said that the crux of the whole climb was the link, which consists of a hard, long 7C+ boulder problem.
On his first attempt, he almost made the climb of Crown Royale but fell on the crux of the Eigerdosis section. It was a near send but unfortunately, Pete had to battle really awful conditions.
His second attempt ended even lower than the crux of Eigerdosis in a place that proved to be tricky while projecting in September.
To make the climb, Pete also struggled with logistical problems, having to pull the rope and an eighteen-piece rack. His solution to this weight nightmare was using a 9mm rope in order to reduce drag as much as possible.
Another controversial move he made to make his climb easier was untying his rope and free-soloing the last twenty meters to the top. The internet got divided upon his decision, claiming it was simply crazy to free solo a supposed 7a line all pumped up, but Pete argued that it was an easy 5a area that he soloed.
Regarding the grade he proposed, 9a, Pete compared it to The Recovery Drink and Eigerdosis, arguing that considering the route, an 8c+ would be harsh as well as over-generous to suggest a 9a+.
Featured image: @petewhittaker01