INTERVIEW: 3rd ascent of Prinzip Hoffnung, 8b/+ E9/10, by Jacopo Larcherby Björn Pohl - UKC Feb/2014
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Jacopo Larcher from Bolzano, Italy, has made the 3rd ascent of Beat Kammerlander's Prinzip Hoffnung, 8b/+, E9/10, at Bürser Platte, Vorarlberg, Austria.
I had a chance to have a chat with Jacopo:
You're getting more into trad and bigger walls now it seems?
Yes, I'm more interested in multi pitch and trad climbing at the moment. It feels like a natural evolution from competition and sport climbing for me.
So, what can you tell me about the ascent and the process of climbing Prinzip Hoffnung?
Well, for me it was something new. I used to trad climb before, but I've never tried a hard pitch like that so the process of working on it was kind of new for me.
The route is really technical and especially in the crux you can slip everywhere.
The route is about 40 m long.
First a crack of 20 m, which should be around 7c or 7c+.
This first part isn't easy. It's a crack but you can't jam. Basically you stand always on really small footholds.
The first 8-10 meters are protected only by the smallest of the micro nuts which won't hold a fall as it holds 1 kn max.
After this you get some ok gear, but you have to make a big run out and the climbing is a bit weird. Actually that was the scariest part.
Where is the crux and is it well protected?
It's above the first 20 meters. Actually the crux is about 6m but the hard section begins 4 m before.
The last piece of gear, just at the beginning of the crux, is a small nut and it's pretty mental as you can't really be sure it will hold a fall.
If this last piece pop, you're looking at a 20m fall on the next bomber pro, but at least you won't hit the ground.
The most dangerous part is the first 15 meters.
Did you ever take that fall?
Yes, the first time I took the whipper I was kind of afraid but the nut never popped out. I ended up taking it three times, falling twice at the last hard move before the last easier section where you can get some more gear.
After the first time I took the fall I wasn't afraid anymore. Once I passed the first 16 m I felt safe.
Did you work the route a lot on top rope before you started making lead attempts?
Yes, I tried it on top rope before. It would have been nice to try it ground up, but I still didn't feel experienced enough.
I actually never did it on toprope, but I went on it a lot of times alone to find the right gear and I worked the moves.
I take it you placed the gear on lead?
Yep, that was the hardest part actually.
You have to stand on the tiny footholds for a long time and that makes everything way harder, but well... that's the game. Plus the last nuts before the crux are rather difficult to place. You are in a weird position and you lose a lot of energy.
How long did it take to climb?
I think it took me about 20 min to climb it.
It was funny actually, because I belayed someone else before and it got late. I started just before it got dark and in the middle it became really hard to see the small footholds. At the top I could barely see my feet!
Thanks a lot Jacopo and have a great time in Spain now!
Jacopo Larcher is sponsored by: The North Face, La Sportiva, Mountain Spirit, Mule Bar, Petzl and Smith Optics and