Deverse Royale - first ascent after broken crux.
After 3 years of torture, I finally succeeded in climbing Deverse Royale at Geyikbayiri, Turkey. The route itself has lived a strange life, with several holds breaking, and numerous variations being climbed after its original ascent in 2009. I had previously fallen off the final hard move, 2 times on the last day of my last trip, so the pressure was on for the re-match. Just before starting redpointing again, another climber broke off a giant tufa from the crux sequence, possibly the most important hold of the entire route. Cruel twist of fate or icing on the cake? Time would tell...
After a few more days of work, a new sequence was discovered for the first crux, changing the difficulty from Fb7C/+ to Fb8A/+. At first success was elusive, and I could not find a way to pass the final jump to a hidden edge. The broken tufa had been used heavily by both hands and feet to make all the movements static reaches. In comparison the new sequence was very dynamic, with the hardest move now coming right at the end.
After passing the new crux for the first time, I somehow managed to keep my composure and climb to the top of the route, and Deverse Royale was born again. As I passed the high point of my previous failures, I had a little laugh to myself, wondering if I would mess it up again, just like before! There were no such problems this time, and I could enjoy the feeling of being in control that a little extra fitness gives you. Still I could have killed the person who had left the screw-gate on the belay closed tightly!"
Originally graded 8c+, but considered soft by some climbers especially those who used a no-hands rest off to the right of the route, half way through the upper resistance section. How hard is Deverse Royale now? I don't want to be too specific, but the addition of a full boulder grade to the first crux makes a big difference to the overall difficulty.
Before, passing the first section was somewhat of a formality to gain access to, and fall off of the upper wall. Now the first section IS the route, and the upper part is, in comparison, easy moves that you must not mess up! It's certainly the most intense sport route I have done, and one of the hardest. How hard exactly I don't know... perhaps its better to play it safe and say its a good solid 8c+?
Its worth pointing out I chose not to use the "new" rest on the right of the upper wall. When the route was originally climbed, this cave was full of spiky bushes and was not possible to use, somewhere around the end of 2010, the bushes were cut down and people started to use the cave as a rest on Deverse Royale and the other routes nearby. You have to make around 3 extra hand moves right to arrive in the cave where you can comfortably take off your hands. I wouldn't ever say the cave is off limits, but using it really takes something away from the magic. The beauty of Deverse Royale is in its intensity. Using this rest looses that challenge, and makes the route a whole lot easier; in my opinion around 1 full grade.
2 years ago Tobias Haug from JoSiTo showed me a picture of a beautiful overhanging arête up the centre of a virgin cliff. I remembered the line as stunning, and a few days after climbing Deverse Royale, decided it was time to take a closer look. Three days of searching, bolting, and cleaning, I couldn't believe my luck. The best line I have ever seen! A seep ships prow, 40m long, marble smooth on both sides, with a single continuous tufa running down the arête! WOW!
After discovering all of the moves were possible, I began to realise how hard the line was going to be. Again my lucky stars were shining bright and the route seemed to be the perfect level of difficulty. The route would be hard, really really hard, but if I could focus my efforts and make efficient use of my remaining time, success was a real possibility.
The first half of the route is around 8a, but after a good rest on a giant stalactite, you immediately shift gear and tackle the crux boulder problem. 4 intense moves on tiny tufa pinches take you through the steepest, near horizontal part of the roof, and a jump from a two finger pocket lands you on a reasonable jug. After composing yourself here you begin the main section of the route; 3 quickdraws of the most perfect climbing, intense slapping between the tufa and the overhanging arête. The terrain is steep and the foot holds nonexistent, making for an incredibly powerful, unforgiving sequence, where it is not even possible to clip!
This sequence finishes at a good kneebar, which although powerful for the abdominals, allows you a chance to breathe and recover some energy before the final section of the route. 5 quickdraws of around 7c, firstly on amazingly steep flowing tufa, and finally up a blue pocketed wall which would be more at home in the Verdon.
3 sessions later I passed the boulder problem and paused at the rest before the tufa section. I had been in this position before, and fallen shortly after in the wild slappy moves. I knew only too well how intense it was and how unlikely I was to succeed, but I felt no stress for this time I had a secret weapon! I had discovered earlier in the day that the upper 3 holds of the tufa were wet, and decided that the route would thus be impossible. I started the attempt only for practice, certain that I would fall, and so it was I started the section with an empty mind... no hopes, no dreams, no pressure!
The moves are so intense that I can't clip the quickdraws, even whilst working the route bolt to bolt. I passed the first quickdraw, passed the second, and slapped into the first wet hold level with the third. Everything in me expected to fall but somehow I remained in place. I slapped the next wet hold, then the next, and suddenly was only a few moves from the kneebar. I matched both hands into the dripping tufa and from somewhere deep inside found strength to move my feet. The rope billowed out beneath my legs as I fought through the final moments. The kneebar stuck! Temporary salvation!
I found Reverrance harder than Deverse Royale, but it is also a very different style. As with all new routes, the rock will become cleaner and new sequences will be discovered, so I should err on the side of caution when offering a grade. 8c+ seems quite fair, but the grade of this route is the least inspiring thing about it, and in my opinion should be at the bottom of the list of reasons to climb.
I had dreamt of a moment like this for a long time. I have wandered the world, searching for the perfect line, a line that not only challenges but inspires. I finally found it, I finally climbed it, and to Turkey and the people here I give my Reverrance!
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