A first ascent of a project on Belgian rock

After I had done the first part of ‘The Project’ some days ago (I posted a video about it on Instagram TV), I returned to try the full line which was waiting for a first ascent.

I passed the crux of the first part again like I had done a few days back. What a relief!Some better holds guided me to the crux moves of the unsent project. I passed those too! A last risky move awaited me. I jumped for the hole… And missed it! Nooo ?

After a good break, I was standing underneath the rock again for another attempt.
I wasn’t looking forward to fighting through the cruxes all over again, but when I started climbing I somehow felt less nervous and managed to enjoy what I was doing. I passed the first crux, then the second one AND the risky move too! Some holds later I clipped the chains!

Photo by John Janssens

Oh wow! What a privilege to be able to do the first ascent! 
I was already so glad I was able to climb on rock again after the lockdown, but this?!

And what makes it all even more special: I got a surprise message from @johnjanssens, a film maker who wants to follow the road to the first 9a on Belgian soil. Turns out he was able to be there the whole day and capture everything on film! 
Thanks for the photo and for being there, John!

The grade? I would love to call it 9a – that would make it the first 9a in Belgium! – but if I compare it with other routes I’ve done, it feels more like an 8c+/9a. More ascents will tell!

The name? ‘The Project’ now needs a name! To be decided… ?

The place? I’ve talked to the locals and they want to be careful about spreading word about the crag. Not because they want to keep it for themselves, but because they don’t want to risk an access ban if too many climbers start coming.