Bosi Suggests a Soft 9a+ for Raven Tor’s ‘Brandenburg Gate’

Climbing
raven tor brandenburg gate
Will Bosi on "Brandenburg Gate" (9a+), the last open project at Raven Tor.

Will Bosi needed less than two weeks to clean up Raven Tor’s two hardest routes this season. The 22-year-old sent Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, November 7, closing the famous UK Peak District crag’s last open project. He graded it 9a+.

Bosi breezed up the long-standing project, thought to be at least 9b, in just a handful of tries after a brief wait for good conditions. He sent the route less than a week after repeating Mutation (9a+) for the first time in its 23-year history.

“I am so happy that such an iconic open project was able to go down so quickly compared to my battle with Mutation,” Bosi said. “Once conditions improved at [Raven Tor], I began to put a number of sessions together, and the sequence came together rather quickly for me. Once Mutation was out of the way, it was great to return and clip the chains on this one!”

Raven Tor’s last project: send footage

Bosi’s casual attitude toward Brandenburg Gate played itself out in the style of his ascent. The Scotsman required only eight beta sessions and seven redpoint attempts to knock it out. Previously, his only experience with the route involved sussing it out on rappel several years ago.

Compare that to Mutation, which took him four years of repeat visits and only succumbed after 40 redpoint tries.

However, watching the first minute of the Brandenburg Gate send video defies Bosi’s glib assessment of the route’s difficulty. Grim holds force contorted body positions as he executes a bizarre dance up the steeply overhanging limestone. (Watch some striking flexibility between :47 and 1:01.)

How hard is Raven Tor’s ‘Brandenburg Gate?’ Bosi challenges all comers

If the apparent difficulty of the movement doesn’t indicate how prohibitive the route is, reports of its recent history do. The last climber to come close to the chains was John Gaskin in the early 2000s.

Pressed to evaluate Brandenburg Gate’s difficulty in terms of numbers, Bosi put it in context of Raven Tor’s other hard classics — including Ben Moon’s Hubble, possibly the world’s first 9a.

“The climb is very similar to Hubble in a sense, but the sequence of moves are a lot more complex and technically demanding. My view is that Brandenburg was a soft end 9a+, in comparison to Mutation, which I regard as solid 9a+. The climbing was harder than other 9a’s I have done in the past but not by a large degree, so I feel it just about deserves 9a+.”

raven tor will bosi

Bosi on the send of “Mutation,” 9a+, at Raven Tor.

The assessment may have disappointed some, who hoped the route would check in as Raven Tor’s most challenging. But no one climber’s opinion can override all others, and Bosi left the door to conjecture — and challenge — wide open.

“However, again, I look forward to seeing the route get more ascents so the grade can settle one way or the other.”

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About the Author

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents' evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.

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