Cryptography: the hardest slab in the world?

© Zarpos

Back in January, Italian climber Alessandro Zeni made the first ascent of Cryptography at Saint Loup in Switzerland. The route links Bain de Sang (9a) and Bimbaluna (9a/9a+), avoiding the rests on both routes and essentially linking the cruxes together. Zeni has graded the route 9b and if confirmed, would make it one of the hardest slabs in the world.

Watch the video of the ascent below:

Bain de Sang was first climbed by Fred Nicole back in 1993 and Bimbaluna was climbed by François Nicole in 2004. For Zeni, these routes aren't the first desperate slab climbs he has done. In 2018, he made the first ascent of Energia Cosmica, which he graded 9a+.

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11 May, 2020

Looks nails, interesting to see something of that standard that isn't over-hanging or even vert. However the music did make me wonder if he was gonna have an epic fight scene with his belayer at the end!

11 May, 2020

ma cosa ha mai fatto sulla grinta ?



11 May, 2020

Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed he didn't slay a dragon when he got to the belay.

12 May, 2020

That looks definitely like a wall not a slab as the draw is swinging free. I have always wondered what is the hardest true slab route as there seems to be a fine line between a slab being climbable and impossible. I would define a slab as being where you can stand at some point in balance without using your hands.

12 May, 2020

He is Italian though, and every Italian guidebook I've read will call a wall a slab :-(.

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