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Anak Verhoeven Gets FA of Belgium’s Hardest Route

Updated with an uncut video of the first ascent

Covid lockdown is over for Anak Verhoeven and she is back climbing outdoors. With the cancellation of this year’s comps, she’s putting her focus on hard sport routes.

This week, she made the second ascent of The Project 5.14c, which was first climbed by Simon Lorenzi last November. She then made the first ascent of the route’s extension. Instead of doing a mantle onto onto a ledge, she moved up and left through an overhang to a second crux into a big move to a pocket. She named the route Krafito in honour of Chloé Graftiaux and has graded it 5.14c/d. This is Belgium’s hardest sport route, with others being Le Clou 5.14c, Razorblade 5.14c and Galaxy 5.14c.

This is Verhoeven’s tenth route in the 5.14c/d or 5.14d range and her fourth first ascent of the grade. The post-covid-lockdown sending spree has been one for the books over the past few weeks for many of the world’s top female climbers. Just in the past few weeks: Oriane Bertone climbed her first V15Nolwen Berthier climbed her first 5.14c with La Ligne Claire, Melissa Le Nevé made the first female ascent of Action Directe 5.14d and Laura Rogora became the first Italian woman to climb 5.15a.

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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. ⠀⠀ • ⠀⠀ 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. . . Photo 1: the easier top part of Kraftio – taken by @johnjanssens 
Photo 2: Chloé Graftiaux
Photo 3: me at the World Youth Championships in Singapore (2012) ⠀⠀ • ⠀⠀ @lasportivagram #lasportiva #sportividacasa @lecomte.alpirando #equipetapassion @rhinoskinsolutions #skinabusespecialists @xcultclimbing #xcultclimbing @xcultusa @petzl_official #petzlbenelux @frigyesvandenauweele @climbforhim ⠀⠀ . #climbing #rockclimbing #kraftio #bonsai #climbinginbelgium #belgianrock #project #send #climb #outdoors #escalade #klettern #sportklimmen #grimper #chloégraftiaux ⠀

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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), 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! . 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 filmmaker 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. . . @lasportivagram #lasportiva #sportividacasa @lecomte.alpirando #equipetapassion @rhinoskinsolutions #skinabusespecialists @xcultclimbing #xcultclimbing @xcultusa @petzl_official #petzlbenelux @frigyesvandenauweele @climbforhim . #climbing #rockclimbing #climbinginbelgium #belgianrock #project #send #climb #outdoors #escalade #klettern #sportklimmen

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Krafitio 5.14+