The frenchman Seb Bouin battled with grade 9b+ for a long time. With his still unrepeated first ascent of La Rage d’Adam / Adam’s Rage , he could probably reach this grade in 2019. Those who know Seb know that he likes to rate hard and downgrade routes know that his long-term project must be something really hard. Now, in the same Ramirole sector as La Rage d’Adam, the Frenchman was able to go one better in the Verdon Gorge and climb the route „DNA“ for the first time. Seb spent, according to his own statement, over 150! days on this project (probably a total of almost 200 days spread over almost three years). In total, Seb made over 250 attempts.

Seb was unsure with his grading. In the end, he proposed 9c. So far, this grade has only been proposed twice, once for the previously unrepeated „Silence“ by Adam Ondra aud from 2017 and then for „Bibliographie“ by Alexander Megos from 2020. However, the latter route was then downgraded to 9b+ by the repeaters.

There are some hopes we hold on to, some dreams that keep us alive.

Even if it seems far away and almost impossible, there is that little glimmer of light inside us that makes us try again and again.

Sometimes we forget that these dreams are achievable, but we try again and again.

Sometimes we get lost, and we don’t believe in them anymore.

Then we must go away to come back. We must find the essence of why we do things, we have to find the DNA of our actions.

I don’t know if we are crazy to try so many times a project that has so little chance of success.

I like to believe that this behavior is instinctive, that it comes from deep within us, that it is written in our DNA.

DNA, that acid in our molecules that carries genetic traits.

I like to think that my approach to climbing is instinctive. I don’t ask myself many questions, I just try, and as long as I’m on the rock I’m happy.

This story has been one of the longest, one of the most intense, and one of the most striking.

There has been a lot of love, but also a lot of fear. A lot of joy, and a lot of frustration. A lot of hope, and a lot of doubts.

I got slapped around a lot.

But it was worth it because it’s beautiful and inspiring.

I’m happy to have completed this project. After having equipped and discovered it in 2019, tried it for 6 months in 2020, and for 6 months in 2021, I finally managed to clip the belay this spring during my second trip.

I’ve spent over 150 days in it (close to 200 I think), and tried the route over 250 times.

It’s the most challenging project I’ve ever done. It’s the hardest route I’ve ever tried and climbed in my climbing career. This route marks a milestone in my climbing life.

This line completes a series of other first ascents on the cliff of la Ramirole in Verdon. For the moment, none of these routes have been repeated.

The question of grading doesn’t feel so important right now for me, but it is inevitable. I spent a few nights thinking about it.

I think this question requires a proper post which I’ll do shortly to explain everything that weighed in the balance.

Photos (c) Lena Drapella