Last week we reported about Bernd Zangerl's first ascent of Shantaram, which he calls his biggest project ever.
Details were sketchy, so I decided to find out more about this stunning problem.
What better place to go than the source? I asked Bernd if he could tell us something about this problem that could very well be among the most difficult on the planet:
Hi Björn, everything is fine...although I have a little break because of a stupid accident. In February I will climb again :-) I am just working on an English story for Shantaram, but the boulder is in area outside Trondheim [Norway, roughly 15km south west of Flatanger] kommune of Osen! (Vingsand).
A friend of mine showed me the line in 2011. It's an incredible problem on a really huge (three-storey building size) boulder :-).
Whatever it will be in future [in terms of grade], Shantaram is one of the most beautiful boulder problems in the world.
At first I wasn't so motivated, because it's so long and I couldn't even imagine linking so many hard moves without a rest. I decoded the sequence and found a good solution for the crux (undercling move with right hand after the start...when you watch the video).
2012 I went back to Osen and tried it for 6 weeks, until my elbow was inflamed and I had to go home again...
2013...the same game, but after 5 weeks (10 days on the problem ) I was able to climb Shantaram.
What lead to success?? I guess the line!
After nearly 15 years of bouldering, this boulder was something different...also for body and mind! I see it as gift - to decode such a piece of rock and going for the first ascent.
This boulder took everything I got and everything I had learned in the past....and my concentration - never think about the continuing falling at the end - was really good and I gave everything I had.
Bernd has chosen not to give Shantaram a grade just yet, but considering his CV and how long he had to work this one, I would be surprised if it turns out to be anything less than 8C.
It is my hardest problem for sure - I can't compare it with anything I did in the past. Regardless of the number which will be related to "Shantaram" in the future, the first ascent on June 11, 2013 as well as the journey to accomplish it are among the most intense of my climbing life...my highlight!