Bouin Climbs Another Hard Flatanger Repeat; Sets Sights on 9c/5.15d

Thor’s Hammer II (9a+/5.15a) lurked in silence from Adam Ondra’s 2017 first ascent until Sebastien Bouin’s recent repeat. For about 99.9% of all climbers, including pros, a 9a+ climb is ambitious enough — but Bouin sees Thor’s Hammer II as part of something much, much bigger.

He envisions the 25m route as one segment of a jaw-dropping 130m 9c project.

Norwegian crusher Magnus Midtbø first bolted the climb in 2012 as part of a multi-pitch idea. No one managed to finish it until Ondra five years later (the same year he climbed the world’s first 9c, Silence). Midtbø’s line proceeds from the anchor of either Nordic Plumber or Thor’s Hammer, out the cave’s roof to the lip.

seb bouin

Photo: Marco Müller @climbimarco

 

It’s short but stout: three separate cruxes guard the chains. But if Bouin’s dream line goes, the entirety of Thor’s Hammer II figures to be nothing more than a stopover on it.

“I’m psyched to have made the first repetition on Monday. It took me nine goes. Now, onto something even bigger…” Bouin wrote on Instagram. “[Ondra’s] idea is to cross the cave from the bottom to the top on the most overhanging part (it’s basically a roof) and finish via this pitch. This is truly something which excites me!”

It sure seems exciting. From the looks of things, it also seems ludicrously prohibitive. Bouin figures you can not only start it from the original first pitches — Nordic Plumber (8c) or Thor’s Hammer (9a) — but also from Ondra’s epic Move (9b+).

Bouin should know what that would take; he polished off the 55m monster in 2019. Various segments force individual moves as hard as 9a.

 

But that’s not all! Bouin’s vision continues out the cave and up the Flatanger headwall. He called the final 50m section “‘easy'” (his quotation marks), but it should still add to the fun considerably. The futuristic testpiece would require at least one rope transfer and superhuman strength and endurance.

“The hard part of this project (whatever the starting route) is the endurance necessary and how to keep enough power in reserve for the final pitch,” he explained. “It’s hard to imagine what the overall grade of this project might be, but one thing is sure, this last pitch makes it really hard due to the style and the combination of the cruxes.

“My dream project would be to do it from Move. Adam and I think this route could be 9c.”

seb bouin

Photo: Marco Müller @climbimarco

 

Godspeed, Seb. Plenty of work remains to be done. He and whoever else wants a crack at it still need to bolt the last “pitch,” and endless training sessions lay ahead. That being said, Bouin’s recent track record speaks for itself.