Die starke Belgierin Anak Verhoeven, auch in heimatlichen Gefilden unterwegs, kann mit „Kraftio“ die schwerste Route und vielleicht erste 9a-Route Belgiens erstbegehen. Bei der Bewertung ist sich Anak nicht ganz sicher und würde sie eher als 8c+/9a sehen. Also schauen wir mal. Die Route, daher auch der Name, widmet Anak Chloé Graftiaux, der Name laut gesprochen „Kraftio“.  Chloé vor zehn Jahren in den Bergen verunglückt. Sie war damals 23 Jahre alt, so alt wie Arnak derzeit. Der erste Teil der Route ist eine Simon Lorenzi Erstbegehung aus dem November 2019. Nach Anaks Meinung ganz hart 8c: „It is said to be a hard 8c, but some of the moves are definitely harder than moves you would usually find in 8c’s.“

Anak gehört zu den besten Felskletterinnen der Welt. Sie ist die erste Frau, die eine Erstbegehung einer 9a, einer 9a/+ oder einer 9a+ Route machen konnte. Neben „Joe Mama“ letztes Jahr im November, konnte sie noch ihre Eigenkreation „Sweet neuf“ in dem Grad 9a+ klettern was bisher nur fünf Frauen gelang. Der Schweizer Cédric Lachat bestätigte mittlerweile den von Anak 2017 vorgeschlagenen Grad.

After I had done the first part of ‘The Project’ some days ago (I posted a video about it), I returned to try the full line which was waiting for a first ascent. . I passed the crux of the first part again like I had done a few days back. What a relief! Some better holds guided me to the crux moves of the unsent project. I passed those too! A last risky move awaited me. I jumped for the hole… And missed it! Nooo. After a good break, I was standing underneath the rock again for another attempt. I wasn’t looking forward to fighting through the cruxes all over again, but when I started climbing I somehow felt less nervous and managed to enjoy what I was doing.I passed the first crux, then the second one AND the risky move too! Some holds later I clipped the chains! . Oh wow! What a privilege to be able to do the first ascent! I was already so glad I was able to climb on rock again after the lockdown, but this?! And what makes it all even more special: I got a surprise message from @johnjanssens, a filmmaker who wants to follow the road to the first 9a on Belgian soil. Turns out he was able to be there the whole day and capture everything on film! Thanks for the photo and for being there, John! . The grade? I would love to call it 9a – that would make it the first 9a in Belgium! – but if I compare it to other routes I’ve done, it feels more like an 8c+/9a. More ascents will tell! . The name?  The Project’ now needs a name! To be decided…  . The place?  I’ve talked to the locals and they want to be careful about spreading word about the crag. Not because they want to keep it for themselves, but because they don’t want to risk an access ban if too many climbers start coming.“

Foto: (c) John Janssens