Jakob Schubert rates BIG 9c | formerly Project Big

A few days ago, Jakob Schubert managed the first free ascent of the Project Big sport climbing route in Flatanger. Now Schubert finally gives an answer to the question of what the route should be called and how difficult he rates it: It is called BIG and he suggests the difficulty level 9c.

This is how Jakob Schubert rates the sport climbing route BIG aka Project Big

9b+, 9b+ hard or 9c? Since the Austrian's redpoint ascent of one of the hardest sport climbing routes in the world Jakob Schubert the climbing scene speculated about what grade Schubert would propose. For some it was clear that he would go for grade 9c. Others were more likely to guess 9b+, because Schubert is known for his tough reviews - and for devaluing other people's difficult routes.

But now it is clear: the long-standing project is called “Project Big”. BIG and is 9c evaluated.

News report of the inspection

“It took me a while to sort out my thoughts about my most important ascent to date,” Schubert begins his communiqué. In his announcement, Schubert emphasized how very grateful he was Adam Ondra for setting up this dream line in Flatanger and that the Czech invited him to plan the route together.

It was a brilliant experience and felt like a shared climb with Adam.

Jakob Schubert

Why does Schubert rate the route as 9c?

For a long time it was unclear to Schubert himself whether BIG should be rated 9c or just 9b+. When he first started planning the 2022 route with Ondra, he leaned heavily towards 9c. As the two of them made rapid progress on the route, 9b+ suddenly came into play as a difficulty level. But then came the key point where they had trouble and so the pendulum swung back towards 9c.

As is often the case, Schubert also tries to compare the route with previous ascents. He includes the route Perfecto Mundo (9b+) in Margalef. Schubert invested three weeks in the “Spanish roller” until he was able to get through.

The ascent of Perfecto Mundo was much easier for me than BIG

Jakob Schubert
Jakob Schubert working together on Project Big_BIG with Adam Ondra_Bild Alpsolut
Jakob Schubert working on BIG (Project Big) with Adam Ondra. (Image Alpsolut Pictures)

Adam Ondra's role in evaluating the route

Another argument that convinced Schubert to propose a 9c for Project Big or BIG was Adam Ondra. Schubert not only planned the route together with Ondra last year, but also exchanged ideas intensively with Ondra then and now after the red point ascent.

Given the comparison with Perfecto Mundo and the history leading up to the ascent of BIG, as well as taking Ondra's opinion into account, it seemed right to Schubert to suggest 9c as the difficulty level.

I'm curious to see what others say. Either way, I am sure of one thing: it will always remain one of the most brilliant ascents.

Jakob Schubert

The ascent of BIG (Project Big) in full length | Video

Third 9c route in the world – none confirmed

Schubert's hesitation also has to do with the fact that there aren't many routes of this level of difficulty yet and 9c is the current upper limit for sport climbing. The Czech Adam Ondra tried this level of difficulty for the first time on September 3, 2017 after climbing the route Silence. The route has not been repeated to this day.

Next, handle Alexander Megos. on August 5, 2020 for grade 9c, as his long-term project Bibliography succeeded in Céüse. However, the route was taken by the Italian Stefano Ghisolfi and further repeaters downgraded to 9b+.

Two years after Megos it was the Frenchman Sébastien Bouin, who dared, his endurance test piece DNA in the Verdon Gorge to be rated 9c.

The distance shortened again until the next climber reached French grade 9c: Jakob Schubert with BIG There are therefore three 9c sport climbing routes worldwide, as of September 27, 2023, and they all have one thing in common: None of the routes have been repeated to date and their grade has therefore been confirmed. So will the fate that befell Alexander Megos repeat itself in 2021?

+ + +
Cover photo: Alpsolut Pictures

News

00:16:21

Technique tips from 5 climbing professionals

Aidan Roberts, Jen Wood and other professionals give you tips in this video on how to improve your climbing technique.

Jaan Roose crosses the Strait of Messina on a 3646m long slackline

World record attempt over the Strait of Messina: Slackline Jaan Rooses dares to tackle the 3640 meter long slackline.

Sascha Lehmann: “I want to make it to the final at the Olympics”

Interview with Swiss professional climber Sascha Lehmann: Successful Olympic qualification, feelings of happiness and expectations.

When eyesight fades and climbing provides comfort

Onsight features blind athlete and Black Diamond product developer Seneida...

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter now and stay up to date.

00:16:21

Technique tips from 5 climbing professionals

Aidan Roberts, Jen Wood and other professionals give you tips in this video on how to improve your climbing technique.

Jaan Roose crosses the Strait of Messina on a 3646m long slackline

World record attempt over the Strait of Messina: Slackline Jaan Rooses dares to tackle the 3640 meter long slackline.

Sascha Lehmann: “I want to make it to the final at the Olympics”

Interview with Swiss professional climber Sascha Lehmann: Successful Olympic qualification, feelings of happiness and expectations.