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A New Route Joins the Growing List of 5.15b/c Routes Around the World

21-year-old Loic Zehani has made the first ascent of Mossoul 5.15b/c in France

On April 17, French climber Loic Zehani made the first ascent of one of the hardest routes in the world, Mossoul 5.15b/c located in Orgon, France. With this slash grade, the route is officially the hardest line Zehani has climbed, although the 21-year-old has sent a staggering number of hard routes, primarily in France. According to his 8a.nu page, in addition to Mossoul, Zehani has sent four 5.15b’s (all Orgon first ascents), 14 5.15a’s, and 46 5.14d’s.

Mossoul is extremely overhanging and contains around 30 hard moves off pockets and crimps before a much easier finishing section. The meat of the route consists of four boulder problems stacked on top of each other with essentially no rest positions throughout.

“The movements are very varied and the climb is extremely physical,” said Zehani via his 8a.nu page. “It’s hard for me to give a grade to each bouldery sequence but I’ll try : 8A/A+ (no rest) 7C+ (very bad rest) 8A hard (no rest) 7B and a 6c for finish. Nowadays my hardest route and after “mature” reflections I propose 9b/b+ [5.15b/c] for this route. So happy to climb this stamina power test.” In V-grades, these stacked boulder problems translate to V11/12, V10, V11, and V7/8, followed by a 5.11- finish.

Mossoul joins a growing number of routes with a slash grade of 5.15b/c. These routes have been granted slash grades either directly from their first ascensionist or indirectly through grade debate from different ascensionists. Examples include Adam Ondra’s Move and Wonderland, Seb Bouin’s La Rage d’Adam, Beyond Integral, and Nordic Marathon, and Will Bosi’s King Capella. You can watch Zehani on Mossoul 5.15b/c in the video below.

Loic Zehani on Mossoul 5.15b/c