First Ever D13+ Flash for Marianne van der Steen

© Marianne van der Steen

Dutch climber Marianne van der Steen has made the first ever known flash of a D13+ drytooling route with KamaSutra at Bus del Quai, Iseo, Italy in-between rounds of the Ice Climbing World Cup.

Marianne van der Steen climbing in Iseo, Italy  © Marianne van der Steen
Marianne van der Steen climbing in Iseo, Italy
© Marianne van der Steen

The route is semi-natural, with a combination of drilled pockets and natural holds. Marianne told UKC:

"The only reason I went up there was because Gordon McArthur got his axe stuck up there at about 2/3 up the long route. I thought it would be way too much for me to climb it. I'm not a very good climber when under pressure and when people watch me climb. It makes me insecure. Maybe that was just the thing I actually needed. Going up without any expectations.

"As I had a cold I thought I'd be out of breath after four moves anyway. I also didn't have much time to train over the previous months. But surprisingly enough I felt fine and at the short rests in the route I could recover so well."

Ice Climbing World Cup competitor Marianne describes herself as a slow climber, preferring to take her time, which was to her advantage on this lengthy pitch:

"Maybe that's why I never do too well in World Cups where time is a really big issue. On my first M9+ six years ago it took me 45 minutes to do the onsight. But when I can keep my head clear I can always recover, no matter what route and that was a great advantage in this huge, long climb."

Marianne van der Steen in Bus del Quai, Iseo  © Marianne van der Steen
Marianne van der Steen in Bus del Quai, Iseo
© Marianne van der Steen

Italian ice climber, three-time World Cup Champion and KamaSutra's first ascensionist Angelika Rainer was on hand to offer beta for Marianne's attempt. Marianne commented:

"Angelika helped me out on some of the moves where it wasn't too clear to find the holds. It was super nice to have had her around, without her advice it would have been a different story I guess."

Initially unaware of her achievement, Marianne described her nonchalant reaction to completing the climb:

"When I got to the ground I was even able to untie my knot and climb another route. Not pumped at all. Therefore it didn't feel like I'd done something super difficult. It was only later that evening when I realised and heard probably no one had ever done a D13+ flash. Not even my good friends Jeff Mercier and Gaëtan Raymond had done this yet."

Having finished the competition season with a World ranking of 15th, Marianne is now looking forward to more drytooling and mixed climbing:

"Hopefully the routes up at the Breitwangflue can be done, I'd love to go there next!"

Watch a video of Angelika Rainer making the first ascent below:


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1 Feb, 2016
I wonder if any of the readers of this article will be inspired to go and dry tool their local sandstone crag ? Given the recent abuse of a uk crag a small footnote about current uk ethics may have been helpfull.
1 Feb, 2016
Good point. Perhaps all future articles should also contain the disclaimer that climbing is dangerous. Well done Marianne, awesome stuff.
1 Feb, 2016
Of course its dangerous , It can get an iceaxe rammed up your arse if i catch you drytooling my local crags ;0) It as has come to light in the previous thread that the perpetrators didnt know any better then what a perfect place to subtly introduce local ethics than an inspiring article about dry tooling.
1 Feb, 2016
I think the ethics ship has sailed where UK dry tooling is concerned. Most dry tooling venues rely on chipped and drilled placements which would be considered wholly unacceptable for free climbing routes. Pity, the Works would have been a great free climbing venue if it had been know it's ok to drill holds all over it.
1 Feb, 2016
If you want to free climb artificial routes, there's probably an indoor wall near you. They can even change the holds round, make them bright colours and everything.
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