New 5.15 From Fred Rouhling

New 5.15 From Fred Rouhling

Fred Rouhling is probably still most well known for his first ascent of Akira back in 1995.  The proposed grade of 9b (5.15b) has long been a source of controversy as many people have questioned the veracity of his ascent.

Almost 15 years later Rouhling is still at the top of his game, opening new routes in the so-called 9th grade of climbing (5.14+ and harder).  He recently completed a new route called Empreintes:

It’s a very gymnastic route with far between the holds and a powerful crux. It starts with an old soft 7c route. The new part starts with a great dyno in a roof, to catch a flat hold (7C/+ boulder grade) with a bad fall (scratch to a vertical part…). After three more moves we get to a very hard jump (8A/+ boulder grade) which is far and has a very uncomfortable start (also a strange hold to catch on the top). The finish is also hard with extreme body tension moves with so far between the holds ( I think this other part can be grade 8A boulder for 5 moves). This route is comparable in style to Hugh one of my old 9a but a level harder


Empreintes – 9a/b – Fred ROUHLING from VisitVenusProductions on Vimeo.

If you have some more time to kill, check out the website for Visit Venus Productions where they have a few different clips presented in a glorious high resolution format a la the Big Up website.  My fingers hurt just watching Rouhling mono campusing…

Visit Venus Productions

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13 Responses to New 5.15 From Fred Rouhling

  1. eu April 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Am i the only one who thinks Fred might have sent Akira in whatever state and that route being perhaps the first 9a+ or even harder?

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    • dan April 1, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

      I absolutely believe it.

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  2. JamesO April 1, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    Does no one else think that the roof “dyno” looks V4ish?

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    • Narc April 2, 2009 at 7:48 am #

      Don’t most strong climbers make most tough moves look V4?

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      • JamesO April 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

        I just mean looking at it as a move not the way it is executed. You are on jug clearly as he is just sitting there on one hand and then you just go to another jug that is only barely out of static reach, you see moves of this nature in gyms as comparison. Compare to the bone move on Esperanza, which is only supposed to be a touch harder. Two crimps in a roof, a high flat foot and then a gigantic cross over to a small barely incut pinch in a roof where your feet cannot cut.

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  3. wyclimber April 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Its deplorable the way the climbing media and culture has treated Fred R, over the years. The guy is and has been sick strong for a long time. He puts up some of the worlds hardest routes and there are always people doubting his accomplishments. You should all be ashamed. Let me ask you all this. Do his really hard routes ever get repeated? Didn’t Tim Kemple seek him out for an interview a few years back and essentially put all of the controversy in better perspective? Or is he just everyones favorite whipping boy.

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  4. sweatpants April 1, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    that climbing article is probably my favorite one I’ve ever read. Seeing I don’t read many and that one has drawn me in to read it on several occasions, there is certainly something special about it.

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  5. sweatpants April 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSSxk71e-2k

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  6. Philly Cheese April 2, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    Fred Rouhling is strong as hell. Inspiring and visionary climber is all I have to say. Even though he tries to shy away from the spotlight and do his own lines which I respect greatly, I think he should try to repeat routes in his style (fingery monos and pockets) like Action Directe for instance. That could bring an end to all these pointless debates and silence naysayers. However, he doesn’t care what people think and thats what I appreciate about the guy…

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    • Narc April 3, 2009 at 8:35 am #

      That’s a good point that would go a long way toward ending what is mostly a pointless controversy.

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  7. sock hands April 3, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    didn’t he mention in the article that he did want to do action directe anyway? of course this article is a few years old, now, but there seems to be an intent.

    in any event, maybe dani should go finish akira. rouhling clearly demonstrated to kemple, etc. that he had the rig wired and linking would have been simply a matter of fitness and determination.

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  8. JP May 4, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    I saw Rouhling climb in the 80s and 90s at Les Eaux Claires. He was phenomenal in strength, technique, and climbing vision. Some day somebody will repeat his climbs and confirm the grades…

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