The strong climbing duo Siebe Vanhee and Sébastien Berthe is back. And the return of the Belgians brings back memories. About how they have repeated and devalued numerous multi-pitch classics in the Alps. They recently struck in Spain, where they started and, you guessed it, devalued Rayu in a day off.
The 600 meter line rayu is a test piece by the brothers Pou and Kico Cerdá. The line in the upper eighth level of difficulty is considered the most difficult line in the Picos de Europa National Park, along with Orbayu (8c) on the Picu Urreillu. On August 19th have Siebe Vanhee and Sebastien Berthe climbed the multi-pitch route without further ado, even flashed Berthe. After their successful one-day push, they propose a downgrade to 8b+.
Crucial passage: who wants first?
The two Belgians entered Rayu with a clear goal: to score the route in one day. The first ten pitches up to the huge ledge in the middle of the wall gave her confidence. "Nothing too difficult, but a certain amount of concentration was required, considering that the first ascents opened this line without many bolts," sums up Siebe Vanhee.
Before the crux, Berthe and Vanhee first had to decide who would try it first. Both thought they had a chance of being able to flash the most difficult pitch on the route.
In a team play for the flash inspection
After Vanhee deciphered the beta and marked the holds, it was Berthe's turn to take his chance. Arms pumped, he fights his way through the first and second crux – the final crux still above him.
Siebe Vanhee is rooting for his rope partner. "I was really happy for him and couldn't wait to try it too." He was so confident that he reached the deflector in a calm and perfect climb. Two and a half hours later the Belgian duo reached the summit.
Devaluation should not belittle the performance of the first ascent
As mentioned at the beginning, after their one-day ascent, the two suggest grade 8b+ for Rayu. «Compared to the last sport climbs I did, it felt more like 8b+. The breaks are too good and the moves are probably too easy to make it a proper 8c," said Seb Berthe.
They felt that the difficulty in the crux section of the crux would definitely depend on height and it might be easier for taller people. Berthe decoded the difficulty of 8b+ using the Darth Grader algorithm, which he fed with information about the individual sections.
That might interest you
- See Vanhee about a challenge he wasn't up for
- Seb Berthe risks, fights and is rewarded
- Seb Berthe flashes trad classic Le Voyage (E10, 7a)
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Credits: Cover picture Frank Kretschmann