I have given ‘The Project’ a name: ‘Kraftio’

When you read it out loud, it sounds like ‘Graftiaux’. Chloé Graftiaux was a Belgian climber who died in the mountains almost 10 years ago. She was 23 years old when she died, which is my age now. The name of this route is an homage to her.
??: J’ai nommé la voie ‘Kraftio’.⠀⠀
Quand tu le lis à voix haute, tu entends ‘Graftiaux’. Le nom de cette voie est un hommage à Chloé Graftiaux, une grimpeuse belge qui est décédée il y a presque 10 ans. Elle avait 23 ans, l’âge que j’ai maintenant.

Photo by John Janssens

The route was bolted by @nicofavresse and Manu Vandenberg about 15 years ago. ⠀⠀

The name of the first part – the hard 8c – has also received its name: it will be ‘Bonsai’. The first ascent of this one was made by @simonlorenzi
The extra 2 bolts for topping out on the right were placed by @sebertheclimber and @francoiskivik.

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.

My first days on Belgian rock after the lockdown! Yes! ?

Video on Instagram TV

I just did the first repetition of this short but hard route, after @simonlorenzi‘s first ascent in November 2019. 
The crux is right above the third quickdraw. It is said to be a hard 8c, but some of the moves are definitely harder than moves you would usually find in 8c’s.

Now I’m working on the second part: continuing the traverse to the left – instead of topping out on the right as I did in the video – and going all the way to the top of the overhang (not visible on the video).

It hasn’t been climbed yet and is thought to be 9a. I’m super excited about the challenge! ?

Thanks @sven.lempereur.3 and @sebertheclimber for telling me about this route!