The French barefoot climber Charles Albert makes the first ascent of L'Ombre du voyageur in Salève, not far from Geneva. For his boulder, which follows a roof crack over a length of almost 10 meters, he suggests a difficulty level of 9A.
Charles Albert, also known as Barefoot Charles, has struck again. On October 18th, he can climb his long-term project on Mont Salève, Geneva's local mountain: L'Ombre du voyageur. The mega boulder follows a roof crack for ten meters and could almost pass for a short sport climbing route. Charles Albert climbed the line barefoot and without a kneepad and rates it 9A.
L'Ombre du voyageur (9A) and the question of valuation
As Charles Albert explained to the French climbing magazine Grimper, the rating of L'Ombre du voyageur is of secondary importance to him. At the same time, he is aware that without an evaluation suggestion, the motivation of other climbers to try it themselves is low.
In his eyes, L'Ombre du voyageur is undoubtedly the most difficult boulder he has ever climbed. But even if his efforts felt like 9A+, he knew it wasn't the same as someone attempting the line with climbing shoes and a knee pad.
That's why he quickly rejected 9A+. Likewise the grade 8C+, especially since the long roof is not comparable to other 8C+ boulders he knows. “So only 9A remained,” the barefoot climber sums up to Grimper.
Memories of No Kpote Only come back
A little over four and a half years ago, Charles Albert opened the No Kpote Only boulder in Fontainebleau and rated it 9A. At the time of the first ascent, this degree had only been issued once.
However, Charles's rating didn't last long. Japan's Ryohei Kameyama repeated the boulder two months after the First Ascent and indicated that he would rate the line more like 8C+/9A. The notorious devaluator Nico Pelorson went one step further, describing No Kpote Only as just a solid 8c after his climb.
Video: Charles Albert on the first ascent of No Kpote Only
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Credits: Cover picture Charles Albert