Bouin - Fred's routes are amazing!

Wednesday, 25 November

Seb Bouin and Lucien Martinez first repeats of Fred Rouhlings Akira from 1995 are all over the media discussing if the first 9b in the world might be just 9a? Naturally, Fred is very surprised about the downgrade as his other two 9a's from the time have just been repeated and confirmed by Bouin. At that time, Rouhling was together with Alex Huber superior in the world and Seb just thinks it is amazing that such routes could have been set up 25 years ago. At that time, crash pads and roof climbs where you could train, both indoor and outdoor, did almost not exist at the time and Fred was by himself pushing the standards. "Fred was ahead of his time and part of the reason for my Vintage trip was to salute him. The difficulty of those routes is amazing! At the same time, I can just say all three routes felt 9a. " Fred is truly happy for the repeats and hopes more will come.

"Seb said that he had a good time in Charente! That’s more important. Climbing is for fun, so have fun and enjoy our climbing life. Repeats are great but don’t forget "to boldly go where no man has gone before!"

Dani Andrada tried the route around 2002 and after three days of effort, he came close and says he at the time speculated if it was 9a or 9a+. At the same time, he today thinks it with kneepads probably would be even easier which goes in line with what Martinez and Bouin think. In any case, it was important for them to do it in the way as Fred did it without kneepads. In any case, besides they and Andrada possibly found better beta, one can speculate if also a broken hold, better shoes with toe-hocking possibilities have had an impact on the grade.

Akira is rather similar to Andrada's Ali Baba hybrid boulder route and he thinks that the reasons for some of his routes being downgraded are that new beta has been found, the use of kneepads and that ladders and fans have facilitated the process of taking them down. Andrada and Rouhling have through their FAs made it to the history books but as it stands they will not be listed to have done 9b.

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