Charles Albert has made the first ascent of L'Ombre du Voyageur (The Traveler's Shadow), in Salève, Haute-Savoie, in the French Prealps. He has graded the boulder 9A.
According to grimper.com, the boulder is ten metres long and follows a crack through the roof of a cave on Mont Salève.
In 2019, Albert established Voyageur Face à la Mer de Nuage (Traveler Facing the Sea of Clouds), an 8B boulder which accounts for the final third of the roof crack. In late October this year, Albert was able to link the full ten metre line together for the first ascent, climbing the boulder in his preferred style - barefoot and without knee pads.
Albert on an unsuccessful attempt earlier in the year.
Grimper.com has reported that Albert struggled to settle on a grade for two main reasons, firstly, the length of the route - far closer in length to Hubble (9a) than it is to Burden of Dreams (f9A), although more overhanging than both - and secondly, the fact that his decision to climb without shoes and knee pads makes things harder rather than easier.
The report further suggests that Albert in fact regards the boulder as closer to 9A+ when climbed in his preferred style, but decided that because shoes and knee pads would undeniably make the route easier, he would grade the boulder 9A.
'Experienced in grading', grimper reported, 'he considers it unthinkable, even while scraping heel hooks and jamm[ing] knees, that this long ceiling is of comparable difficulty to the 8C+ that he knows'.
This is not Albert's first 9A proposal, having suggested 9A for his 2018 boulder No Kpote Only (f8C+), only for Ryohei Kameyama to repeat the boulder and suggest 8C+, and for Nico Pelorson to repeat and suggest a further downgrade to 8C.
Check out our newsflash on Albert's 2018 ascent of No Kpote Only, including footage of him working the boulder, below: