Frenchman Seb Bouin is doing really strong this year. With the 4th ascent of „Jumbo Love„, the Frenchman reports his fourth ascent in grade 9b and harder. Already in May of this year, he was able to climb the perhaps second [9c] route in the world, the route „DNA„, in the Verdon Gorge. After the ascent of „Jumbo Love“ he could still climb the direct entry, which checks in separately with about 9a. For the entire project with the exit of „Jumbo Love“ right him no longer the time, but should definitely be quite hard.

„An old dream came true last Wednesday. This king line has attracted me for a long time. It was a true inspiration to see the footage of Chris Sharma on it.
I started climbing around 2005 and it was one of the most incredible climbing films I had watched at that time.

Jumbo Love looked like everything I like in Climbing : A perfect huge orange steep wall in the middle of the Mojave desert. I knew this line and this wall will be my pure climbing style.
Climbing on this line is something I have been waiting for, for several years. And I am definitely not disappointed. It’s an amazing line with perfect moves.

But, Jumbo Love is not just a hard line, it’s a whole adventure. I totally underestimated the total process, the drive, the off-roading, and the hike in. We changed our car three times because it was not good enough to get to the crag. We also changed two tires due to off-road driving incidents,…

The 1h hike really takes it out of you.
I am used to climbing for many days in a row. But, here, that would be a mistake. We had to preserve ourselves. And keep our energy and motivation up.

We were sleeping some nights in the desert, so as not to drive every day.

I did this route on my 10th climbing day.
My overarching objective would be to do the Direct variation of Jumbo Love, which is supposed to be harder.
My approach was simple, find the best betas possible in Jumbo Love, in order to have the highest chances possible to send it coming from the direct (adding an 8c+ route before the 9b).

In this process, I used kneepads for the send, in three places. This kind of rock (orange rock with pockets) is actually not the best for using kneepads, but I still found it helped a little, with some tricky ‘expert ++’ kneebars. I was falling half of the time, slipping from kneebars. I almost gave up with these kneebars at some point because it was to sketchy. I was thinking the route a bit more powerful without kneebars, but way more secure if you have the strength required.

Yet, I was still thinking about the direct.“

The route „Jumbo Love“ was first planned as a three-pitch climb by Randy Leavitt, a California climber who had already established several routes on Clark Mountain. But Chris Sharma had the vision to climb the gigantic, 76-meter sport route in one pitch. In 2008, his vision came true with the successful climb and the world had its first 9b route.

Seven years after the first ascent, Ethan Pringle sents the first repeat. Three years later, Jonthan Siegrist was successful.

Photo: (c) Clarisse Bompard