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).