VIDEO: New F9a/b? By Fred Rouhlingby Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Mar/2009
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Fred Rouhling has completed his project Empreintes (F9a/b?) and said:
"This route is comparable in style to Hugh one of my old F9a's but is a level harder."
Rouhling has a philosophical outlook on grades, preferring not to give a specific rating to his climbs. This comes after his ascent of Akira (F9b) way back in 1995, which was central to a volley of criticism levied at the French climber, with many in the climbing community expressing disbelief at his claims.
You can read a superb in-depth article on Fred Rouhling and Akira on Climbing.com
Rouhling describes Empreintes as:
"A very gymnastic route with far between the holds and a powerful crux. It starts with an old soft F7c route. The new part starts with a great dyno in a roof, to catch a flat hold (Font 7C/+ boulder grade) with a bad fall (scratch to a vertical part...). After three more moves we get to a very hard jump (Font 8A/+ boulder grade) which is far and has a very uncomfortable start (also a strange hold to catch on the top). The finish is also hard with extreme body tension moves with so far between the holds (I think this other part can be graded Font 8A boulder for 5 moves)."
Watch a video of Fred Rouhling on Empreintes: