French climber Seb Bouin has made the third ascent of Adam Ondra's Change (9b+) in the Hanshelleren Cave in Flatanger, Norway. Ondra climbed the route in 2012 and it was the first 9b+ in the world. Italian climber Stefano Ghisolfi made the second ascent in 2020.
Bouin has been in Flatanger for the past month with the overall aim of completing Change. In mid-July, he redpointed the first pitch of the route, estimated to be 9a+/b in difficulty, taking 8 attempts. At the start of August, he redpointed the 9a second pitch which Bouin described as 'still quite hard.' His goal was to complete the two separate pitches before attempting to link them both together from the floor.
After completing both pitches, he had four days of the trip remaining:
'I didn't know if it would be enough for the entire route. My body started to feel crushed by this cave. I felt tired from the trip. But I wanted to play the game until the very end.'
His first two days were hindered by extremely poor conditions; high humidity and wet holds left him with little confidence. On day 3, the conditions were 'exceptional' and despite feeling tired from the previous day's abortive attempts, he tied on:
'I finally decided to try the route. I was literally flowing through the holds, due to the good conditions. It was so much different than the day before. I am happy to say that I made no mistakes and felt the belief that I could make it to the end, and I did! I am not usually a 'last day, last try' kind of guy, but this time it happened.'
Like Ghisolfi, Bouin made use of kneepads on the 55m route. It's probably fair to say that Ondra would have done the same if he was attempting the route today and he certainly made use of them on Silence (9c).
Bouin's month long trip to Flatanger was exceptional. Other than his ascent of Change, he also made the 2nd ascent of Ondra's Iron Curtain, for which he suggested a grade of 9a+ if using kneepads, the 2nd ascent of Thor's Hammer (9a+), and the first ascent of Nordic Marathon (9b/+).