Rock Climbing, Abseiling & Canyoning

Rise | Jacopo Larcher And The Story Behind One Of The World’s Hardest Trad Climbs

You're going to need some serious dedication if you want to make this climb

Yeah, yeah. We know. Watching Stefano Ghisolfi cranking as hard as is physically possible, whilst his middle finger pulls him up Perfecto Mundo 9b+ (the second hardest sport grade in the world)  is one of the most impressive things in modern climbing. And that’s before we’ve mentioned Alex Honnold’s still-jaw-dropping free solo ascent of Freerider, of course.

But we rubbed our hands in glee when we heard that The North Face had gone and made a film about Italian bouldering champion Jacopo Larcher’s six year project on the newest climb at Italian trad climbing Mecca; Cadarese. A route, we should add, that top British climber and all-round good guy James Person said was “One of the most beautiful trad routes” he’d ever seen.

For those who aren’t aware, ‘trad’ climbing presents a whole new level of psychological mind games for climbers. Rather than using fixed bolts in the rock, trad climbers rely on climber-placed protection. In short, this means untrustworthy spaced placements with the possibility of big falls.

Coming from the bouldering world cup scene, Jacopo soon realised that the nature of trad climbing was why he loved climbing and he soon began to dispatch some of the hardest trad test-piece routes in quick succession – including Dave MacLeod’s hard-as-nails route ‘Rhapsody’ (the world’s first and only E11).

The climbing itself is spectacular, with Jacopo pushing the limits through two clear crux sequences; the first involves breaking through a roof, which then spits Jacopo out onto the beautifully exposed arete and the second crux, where extremely desperate finger crimp after finger crimp finally leads to easier ground.

“Yeah, but what grade is it?” – a selection of words always hot on the lips of people after a first ascent. Interestingly, Jacopo has chosen not to grade this punchy number. The energy and support Jacopo received from the Cadarese climbing community is one of the reasons he has decided to forego the traditional grading of the climb, and instead focus on the process and the beautiful moments it provided him with.

“It would not have been possible without my fellow climbers in Cadarese, they are part of my journey”

“It’s a truly stunning line, one that I had been searching for without knowing for many years. I’m often asked about the grade, but for me, it’s clear that climbing is about more than grades and this line is the perfect example, said Larcher. “It would not have been possible without my fellow climbers in Cadarese, they are part of my journey”

One thing is for sure regarding the grading, though, it’s bloody hard. Give the film a watch to find out for yourself. Bravo Jacapo, bravo.

You May Also Like:

Climbing With Coxsey | 13 Lessons From The UK’s Most Successful Competitive Climber

Shutter Life | Climbing Photographer Nadir Khan’s Life Behind The Lens


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.