Mari Salvesen on her First Ascent of Tazlov, 8b trad

© Pete Whittaker

Earlier this month, Mari Salvesen made the first ascent of Tazlov, her 8b trad project on the island of Sotra, Norway. Mari is in excellent form, having earlier this year become just the second person - and the first woman - to flash Belly Full of Bad Berries (5.13b). We got in touch to ask her for some more info about the route, her process on it, and how it feels to have put a long-term project to bed.

Tazlov, Sotra, Norway  © Mari Salvesen
Tazlov, Sotra, Norway
© Mari Salvesen

Where is the route, and how long is it?

The route is at Sotra, an island outside of Bergen. It's approximately 25-30 metres long, with difficulties centred around turning the roof in the middle. 

Does the route break down into sections? How would you describe each section?

The start section is easy, but unprotected. Then you head out into the roof, which is always a bit wet, but the jams are good, so if you know your jamming it's very doable. After the roof is a very defined and intense crux, steep corner leaning awkwardly to the left, the holds are tiny and you rely a lot on squeezing the friction.

After the crux is another relatively easy section to the anchors, but it's also pretty much unprotected. The route is basically a tricky boulder problem, with some logistics before and after. 

Squeezing for friction on the crux of Tazlov, 8b  © Pete Whittaker
Squeezing for friction on the crux of Tazlov, 8b
© Pete Whittaker

How long did you work the route for?

I worked the route for a few years, but quite inefficiently, as I wasn't sure if the crux was possible for me. There was a lot of doubt and wondering if I was wasting my time.

Last year I found an old shoe that unlocked the beta. The next challenge was to be fit enough for that exact kind of thing, then wait patiently to get the weather window I needed for it to be dry enough. It was just incredibly lucky that it dried up-ish in December! 

Is this your hardest FA?

Yes this is my hardest FA, my previous ones go up to 7c. 8b is also the hardest grade I have climbed on trad prior to this route, so it was useful to get some help to grade it. 

Earlier this year, you flashed Belly Full of Bad Berries, which comes in at 5.13b(8a). Has flashing one of the most iconic, and hardest, crack climbs in the world opened your eyes to bigger and harder challenges?

For every route I get up, I'm continuously reminded that the main thing holding me back from doing bigger challenges or harder routes is myself having doubts and therefore not committing to it. I'm sure it's like that for other people too. You can train and hope that stars are aligned one day and you randomly get up something challenging for you, but it's way more efficient to set a goal and put in intentional work towards that, whatever it is.

Flashing BFOBB got a lot of attention, but I was prepared to give it effort, so the flash was probably less surprising to me than to everyone else. I had already believed I could do it. 

How does it feel having ticked off a long-term project?

It was incredibly satisfying for a few days, and then I forgot and started thinking about other things. I have some video of the send that I haven't looked at yet, which is fun to have for later, to remind me of the good struggle. 

What's next for you?

I have spring projects, but I did my shoulder yesterday, so the body might have other plans for me.

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Norwegian climber Mari Augusta Salvesen is a top all-round climber, having excelled in nearly all disciplines of the sport. Some of her highlights include:

Boulder: Misanthropie 8A in...

Mari's Athlete Page 10 posts 4 videos

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21 Jan

Very good, but that's not what I would call a foot jam ;)

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