Iron Knuckles, first ~8C by Christof Rauch

© Bernhard Hörtnagl

Christof Rauch on Anam Cara, ~8B+, Silvretta, Austria  ©  Bernhard Hörtnagl
Christof Rauch on Anam Cara, ~8B+, Silvretta, Austria
© Bernhard Hörtnagl
Christof Rauch from Finkenberg, Austria, has made the first ascent of Iron Knuckles in Kärnten in southern Austria. He feels it's his hardest to date and suggests ~8C.

Chris is hardly a stranger to hard problems having climbed a dozen or so ~8B+'s in the last year, mixing first ascent with classics like Bügeleisen, New Base Line and Anam Cara to name a few.

I asked him if he could tell us a little about the problem and his future plans.

Yeah, the problem basically consists of two parts. A beautiful crack with really powerful moves on small holds and a lot of toehooks, including a little feet first section which leads you directly into the start of three other boulders. This part is about 8A+ on its own. It's the same start as my latest FA Guardian of the Galaxy, ~8B+.

The second part is called Hard Knock Life, 8B. It's really different, flat holds, crimps, pinches and a lot of right hand gaston moves. You need a lot of tension and shoulder power for this problem. All in all the problem has about 20 hard moves into a nice 6C+ topout.

I visited this this area for the first time last December and since then I couldn't stop thinking about this great line. It took me 4 sessions to climb the "short" version Hard Knock Life which consist of 10 hard moves.

After that I wanted to climb a few other lines first but at the same time I started projecting this nice looking crack line. It took me quite a while to find a good beta for this beast and after three sessions I was able to climb from the start to the start of the existing boulders for the first time.

At first I wanted to link it into Ghost Galaxy, 8A+ which is the easiest way to the top (there is also a nice little video). This line took me about seven sessions. But this was not enough for me and so I kept trying the harder exits.

Iron Knuckles took me about 14 sessions and is the hardest problem I have ever done. So I suggest 8C. I also made some good links on the hardest exit Punching in a Dream, 8B+.

Another little funfact is that i hiked about 112km to get the problem done.

About my Goals. My maingoal is to finish the project I named before, then a little summer break and in autumn I want to go for a few shorttrips to Magic Wood. My main projects are Remembrance of things past, 8B+ and Dark Matter, 8B+/C, but I also want to have a few sessions on Mystic Stylez, 8B+ and Practice of the wild, 8B+/C.

Here's a video of Chris climbing Guardian of the galaxy, ~8B+.

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