|Climber||Suggested Grade||Date of Ascent||Notes|
|Jakob Schubert||9c/5.15d||20th Sep 2023||Third confirmed 9c in the world and Jakob’s first 9c route. Hold broke off while he was two draws away from the chains but managed to save it. Video|
Flatanger is known for its climbing with 298 routes in the area and counting. But climbers come from all around the world for one particular crag; The Hanshelleren Cave or the Hans for all the non-Norwegian speakers.
The Hans Cave might seem intimidating at first since many of the hardest routes have been established there, but there’s a bit for everyone with over 50 routes ranging from 5c all the way up to too hard to even image.
Adam bolted Project Big in 2013 when he was trying Project Hard (Silence). He managed to get Silence, but Project Big remained undefeated. It wasn’t until last year, 2022, that both Ondra and Schubert decided to work together on the project.
The route itself starts off with a 5.11d intro. Schubert then switches to a second rope to lessen rope drag near the top. This leads to a V10-11 section, followed by a middle segment with a few moderate rests. The route then intensifies with a resistance section that culminates in a challenging boulder problem.
The crux involves a demanding move from a sloper to a crimp, which is the 85th move of the route. This is succeeded by several more difficult moves and a 60+ feet runout of 5.13b or c to the top.
20th Sep 2023: Jakob Schubert
On September 20, 2023, in what he described as “the biggest mental battle” of his illustrious climbing career, Jakob achieved the first ascent of Project Big. In true Schubert style, he kept us eagerly waiting for a name and grade. Finally a week after his send, he announced on his Instagram the third confirmed 9c/5.15d route called B.I.G.
Schubert’s ascent of Project Big stands out not just for the climb itself, but for the challenging circumstances under which it was achieved. Battling the elements, he took on the route amidst rain, all while sharing his journey live with viewers around the world. The climb was fraught with tension, especially when a crucial hold gave way just as he was nearing the end, only two quickdraws shy of the anchor. He kept his composure where others would crumble under the immense pressure and kept climbing to the top.
Reflecting on his experience, Schubert shared, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared on a climb before.” His concerns were nearly realized when he almost fell from a wet hold and later when a handhold broke. Despite these challenges, Schubert persevered, exclaiming, “So nervous!” as he secured himself at the anchors. He later commented, “This was the biggest mental battle that I have ever had in my career with a route. I have never tried a route that much. This is actually the first lead route that I have tried and didn’t finish in one trip. Now I have almost tried it for two months.”
In terms of the grade, Adam and Jakob initially had in mind that it was a 9b+ route. Both made progress on the route fairly quickly in just a few sessions. It wasn’t until they kept falling off just after the crux that they realized that this was much harder than they thought. Using Perfecto Mundo (9b+) as a benchmark, Jakob said B.I.G felt a lot harder than Perfecto Mundo.
Well deserved Jakob!
The Hans Cave is Adam Ondra’s playground so no doubt we will be seeing him trying to tick off B.I.G. Another contender for the second ascend is Seb Bouin. Having already secured a 9c route with his first ascend of DNA, only time will tell if Seb will become the first climber in the world to bag two 9c lines.