Change P1 9a+ by Alex Rohr

15 August 2022

Alexander Rohr, who has previously done ten routes 9a and harder, has done Change P1 (9a+) in Flatanger, thinking it deserves a slash upgrade. (c) John Thornton

"On the 12th of August I could successfully climb the first pitch of Change, 9a+/9b. The route consists of an 8b route intro into an 8b/8b+ boulder crux. After that you have to climb a couple of easier moves into a final 7C boulder. The last quarter of the route is not that hard anymore. The total length is about 25 to 30 meters in a massive overhang whereas the crux boulder is in a roof dihedral.

I already briefly tried the route in 2019 after being successful on Illusionist, 9a, but hurt my shoulder trying the crux move in the roof. I immediately stopped trying it. Later Covid happened and I didn’t get back to Flatanger until this year. This July I came back to the Hanshallaren cave and I had the plan to do it within this trip. That proved to be quite tricky, since the weather was less than perfect and there was a lot of seepage in the route and I had to deal with generally bad conditions. It was a constant battle against wet holds. Every morning I warmed up and before giving tries I had to go through the whole route to dry most of the holds with paper and tinfoil. That is not easy on the mind because it means that you waste precious power you could use on the real tries later. Additionally it was not possible to dry all the holds. Instead of being upset about the fact, that this season is not easy in Flatanger, I tried to look at it as a challenge. I tried to persist and just kept trying. The consequence of being in a good shape and having a good mindset was, that I kept getting better and being a little closer every day. Sending the route in the end was not exactly as I envisioned the day of success. I had three really good tries the day before and I felt a bit tired. I walked up to the cave only to realize that the conditions were a lot worse than the day before. Zero wind, seeping holds and a lot of humidity. I gave my first try and immediately felt that it was the closest ever. Not doing a single move more, but feeling better. The sun came in and I had to wait for five hours until the sun got out of the route. It did, but while doing the second warmup on an 8a route, I realized, that everything was still very warm and humid. I wanted to try my luck and give it a try anyway. I set off and just forgot that I was actually climbing. Flying up the route and having a brief moment of clarity when reaching the move which shut me down all the time. I realized that I feel so much better and by that time the move was done already. I was back in the zone and I felt that nothing could stop me anymore, not even a foot slip and wet holds in the last 7C boulder. I just kept climbing towards the anchor. It was finally done.

Sidenote: I could not use the method that Seb Bouin used as I am not tall enough. I used one kneepad to get into the famous shoulder move Adam Ondra did. After that first move I did it exactly like Adam did the FA. My personal opinion is to leave it at 9a+/9b and keeping in mind, that what Adam did was probably harder than the original grade he gave."

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