What is the difference between difficult climbing walls and the absolute most difficult ones? There are only a handful of daredevils in the world who decide to take up climbing on walls ranked among the greatest challenges of mankind.
Climbing has many variations. It is often associated only with the classic version, however, we cannot forget about the alpine routes, where one of the biggest difficulties that the climber faces (apart from the terrain) are the extremely extreme weather conditions. However, if we are talking about the most difficult climbing walls in the world, comparing individual routes with each other and bidding which one is the most difficult doesn’t make much sense, because it’s hard to compare. Nor is there anyone – there are only a handful of climbers who are able to conquer the greatest difficulties. So let’s assume that the following list of the most difficult climbing routes is informative and is not a ranking. Each of the mentioned routes is so complicated that an average mortal can only dream about conquering it.
As far as traditional climbing is concerned, Tribe (located in the northern part of Italy) is currently considered to be one of the most difficult walls to conquer – 25 meters of vertical granite. It is impressive, even for people who have sucked the love for climbing from their mother’s milk. The best evidence of the route’s difficulty is the fact that before Jacopo Larcher managed to conquer the wall, he had made 50 ascents. That’s how much effort it took to climb the granite rock. It took three years from the time he saw the wall for the first time until he conquered it. He did not succeed until 2019.
A year later, the feat was repeated by James Paerson. The British climber was so impressed with the climbed route that he said that the sequence of intercepts he encountered on Tribe is by far the most difficult he has had the opportunity to do so far.
When considering the most difficult routes in traditional climbing, one has to move, at least for a moment, to a distant continent. Meltdown is a route in Yosemite, USA. It attracts extremely ambitious climbers, but is extremely difficult to climb – it is rated at 5.14c. Interestingly, the first ascent of this nearly murderous wall was done by a woman! It was done by Beth Rodden. The wall waited a decade to be climbed again. The feat was repeated by Carlo Traversi.
When it comes to the Big Wall, the undisputed leader is Dawn Wall – the highest route on El Capitan, a breathtaking rock formation, which, just like Meldown, lies in the American Yosemite Valley. The first passage of this route was recorded in the accounts of Caldwell and Jorgenson. For their achievement they could count on congratulations from Barrack Obama, who at that time was the president of the United States. The feat turned out to be so extraordinary that it attracted the attention of a wider audience, which up to then had rather not been following the events from the world of climbing. It even led to the making of “The Dawn Wall,” a compelling documentary about the climbers’ murderous struggle to achieve their dream.
It’s time to change the climate a bit and move to the snowy, inaccessible regions of the Himalayas. This is where Lunag Ri is located – the peak 6895 m above sea level. The first conqueror, David Lama, tried for several years to face this extremely difficult challenge. In addition to the technical difficulties, extremely difficult weather conditions awaited him. Very low temperature and strong wind, which additionally intensified the feeling of cold, several times forced the climber to retreat just a few hundred meters before the summit. The mountain did not surrender until October 2018.
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